Fencing Standout: Bobby Cottingham

CAS freshman Bobby Cottingham advanced his skills throughout his stellar first season on NYU’s only Division I sports team — fencing. He served as one of the team’s saber this season.

Cottingham said he mainly focuses on what he can do every day in training to improve his game. Initially, one of his goals this season was to qualify for regionals, which he did.

He then decided to focus on resting up by taking the proper steps, such as eating right, icing and stretching, to ensure that his body would be ready to go for the next competition.

Many students aren’t aware of the reputation of NYU’s fencing team, the school’s only Division I sport and the reason Cottingham decided to attend NYU. Cottingham traveled a short distance from his hometown of Orange, New Jersey and felt drawn to NYU’s immersive city culture and because a number of the most competitive fencing clubs are located in the city.


“It is very hard to build a career after the National Collegiate Athletic Association if you don’t remain in the city,” Cottingham said.
His goal is to continue fencing in national and international competitions. As the son of Bob Cottingham Sr., the 1985 Junior Olympic champion and 1988 Seoul Olympic Fencing team member, Cottingham was introduced to fencing at a young age.

However, Cottingham hasn’t been left in his father’s shadows. Although he’s only been fencing for the past five years, he has both natural talent and work ethic. After his third year in fencing, Cottingham took second place with his high school team at the National Junior Olympics in 2015.

Like most successful athletes, Cottingham likes to get in the right state of mind prior to competition. One of his typical pre-duel traditions includes listening to a playlist, which features hype artists such as Eminem, Kanye West and Meek Mill.

The Fencing team, like many of NYU’s other sports teams, is full of driven individuals who feed off of helping each other. The team itself to thrive. Cottingham has nothing but praise for the dynamics of the NYU Fencing squad, especially the team’s senior members.
“[The] upperclassmen are all really supportive and talented, and training with them has developed my skills to a higher degree,” Cottingham said.

Aside from fencing, Cottingham has been able to explore a variety of different subjects through the Liberal Studies program and plans to eventually double major in Politics and Economics.

Recently, Cottingham competed with the Violets at the North America Cup. Just weeks before the NAC Cup, Cottingham stood out for his two wins against Pennsylvania State University and the University of Pennsylvania.

Cottingham and the rest of the NYU team have their next competition on Saturday, Feb. 3, against Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Jan. 22 print edition. Email Nalani Ogawa at [email protected] 



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