Great Neck brothers become fencing rivals
Great Neck North vs. Great Neck South is already a major rivalry, but that turned into a family feud last Tuesday when the schools' fencing teams faced off at North.
Tyler Healy and Kody Horiuchi fence foil for South. Their brothers, Dylan Healy and Kenji Horiuchi, are assistant coaches for North.
The battle of the Great Neck boys was won by South, 20-7. Kody, a freshman, went 2-0 on the day; Tyler, a senior, went 1-2.
All four brothers train and compete in outside competitions together. The younger siblings said they decided to start fencing because they wanted to be as good as their brothers.
Dylan fenced for South and said it wasn't a surprise when Tyler decided to become a Rebel, but Kenji was a Blazer and he admits he did question his brother's decision.
"It had me thinking 'What? Why would you do that,'" Kenji said. "It definitely had me feeling a little sour at first but eventually I got used to it. I don't root for his team, but I always root for him because I want him to do well."
There was plenty of trash-talking leading up to the match, and after the younger brothers won, they said that winning against their older siblings wasn't as important as topping North.
"It's a crosstown rivalry, so no matter who's on the other side I feel like we always have to beat our rivals," Tyler said.
Neither coach watched their brothers' first match because they also coach the North girls team that was competing against South. But during Kody's second match, Kenji gave his opponent tips on how to defeat him. Still, the younger Horiuchi came out with a 5-2 victory, causing Kenji to throw his hands up and walk away.
"It's frustrating because I know his weaknesses," Kenji said. "So I tell the kids what I think they should do, but it still doesn't work, so it's very frustrating."
When asked what he thought about his brother's reaction to his win, Kody laughed and said, "It makes me feel great."
After the match, the war of words ended for the Healy brothers. "Once the meet is over, we're back on the same side," Dylan said.
That's not the story for the Horiuchi brothers.
"I always trash-talk, I might even get on Tyler for losing," Kenji joked. "Our girls won today, so that gives me something to brag about."
Still, despite all the verbal sparring, the respect and admiration the brothers share for each other shined through.
"They're both very accomplished in what they do because they've been training a lot longer than most high school fencers," Kenji said. "It's really hard to fence against them because even though we might know their weaknesses, they still find a way to win."
Said Dylan, "It's really fun to watch both of them grow as fencers. We're both really proud of them."