In his three seasons as head coach of the Fairfield co-op fencing team, Jim Roberts has not only been impressed with the success of his boys' and girls' squads, but with the quality of their success. Not only have the Mustangs won, they've climbed to the top of the mountain.

At the recent 2015 State Fencing Championships at the Hopkins School in New Haven, the Fairfield girls' foil and sabre teams won the state title with the epee team taking seventh place while the boys' foil team took second with the epee and sabre teams finishing fourth and sixth, respectively.

"It was a great result. There are over 26 teams in the state, so finishing like we did is very good," Roberts said. "We were one of just two teams (Guilford was the other) that qualified all our teams' -- men's and women's foil, epee and sabre for the state tournament."

Since Roberts became coach at Fairfield in 2013, the Mustangs have placed in the top eight of those three divisions 13 times, taking third in the boys' epee, fifth in the girls' foil and eighth in the girls' epee in 2013.

In 2014, the boys' took second in the epee and third in the sabre while the girls took fifth in the sabre and fifth in the foil competitions.

"I'm very satisfied with how the team has evolved," Roberts said. "It's always been a family-oriented team and a close team but these guys are also talented and dedicated. If you want to be good at anything you have to work at it full time. The program's grown exponentially over the past few years. Not necessarily as far as numbers goes but as far as talent."

Three members of the girls' team earned All-State honors with Ludlowe junior Gabrielle Rotar-Crowe winning first place in the women's sabre division and Warde senior Gazal Gulati and Ludlowe freshman Madison Lee also earning All-State accolades. It was the third straight All-State achievement for Rotar-Crowe.

"Gabrielle won the state championship in women's saber," Roberts said. "She's a junior and she's been fencing since her freshman year. She joined the team as a new fencer and really adapted to it. After three seasons, she's really accelerated her training."

Rotar-Crowe, Gulati and Warde sophomore Anna Fedoryk were members of the winning sabre team, while Lee, Warde senior Lian Ngaoprasuet, Warde freshman Amy Ngaopraseut and Ludlowe junior Jillian Wrigley were on the first place foil team.

The men's foil team that placed second was comprised of Ludlowe sophomores Ethan Grezda and Tomas Koeck and Ludlowe seniors Chase O'Such and Nick Terepka.

Roberts fenced in high school at Daniel Hand before heading to Sacred Heart University, leading the Pioneers to back-to-back Northeast Fencing Conference championships in 2010 and 2011.

He followed that with a job at the Fairfield Fencing Academy and when the Fairfield co-op coaching position opened, he got the job and has been working ever since to better promote the sport.

"Fencing's not a CIAC sport so we kind of govern ourselves through CHSFA -- Connecticut High School Fencing Association," Roberts said. "Fencing is looked at as such an elitist sport but this gives kids in Fairfield County the opportunity to fence and make it more known."