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On Tap with ... Michael Wiest


As the fencing season starts up, The Daily Princetonian caught up with junior sabrist Michael Wiest to talk about domination, festive rugs and the end of "The Notebook."

Q: Where are you from, and what is it like there?


A: I'm from Portland, Ore., and it's a wonderful place filled with magic.

Q: How did you get into fencing?

A: It was an after-school program at my school, and I was just pretty dominant at it, so I kept doing it.

Q: If you could be a professional athlete, what sport would you play?

A: NBA. No question: NBA. They can dunk! If I could dunk, which is something I'll never be able to do, that would be my life goal.

Q: What's your favorite thing about fencing?


A: Winning, because it's a one-on-one sport, so when you beat someone, it's like, "I own you. I dominate you."

Q: If you were stranded on a deserted island and you could only bring three things with you, what would you bring?

A: I'd probably a bring a cat, for company-slash-rodent control. I'd bring some sort of festive rug, so no matter what my dwelling was like, it really felt like home ... and maybe like a cast-iron skillet, because then I could prepare all sorts of meals. Bonus item: cornhole set.

Q: Who's the quirkiest member of your team?

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A: If by quirky you mean lazy: [junior] Robert Daniluk. Quirkiest in terms of unexplainable activities that I cannot rationalize: [junior] Sharon Gao.

Q: What is the most embarrassing song on your iPod?

A: Maybe just the sheer number of play counts on the song "Tik Tok" by Ke$ha. I was really, really into it when it first came out.

Q: What's your favorite thing to do when you're not fencing?

A: I like camping. I dabble in Grand Theft Auto.

Q: What is the best class you've taken at Princeton?

A: Anything taught by Patricia Fernandez-Kelly.

Q: What's your major, and why did you choose it?

A: Chemical engineering. Biology's cool, so I chose to study it.

Q: What are your thoughts on Gary Walters?

A: Sad to see [him] leave.

Q: What's the funniest thing that's happened to you during a fencing match?

A: Well, following a loss one time I broke a blade over my head because I was pretty mad. I just meant to bend it over my head, but I ended up breaking it.

Q: Would you rather never be able to eat pizza for the rest of your life or not be able to tell the difference between a muffin and a baby?

A: Wait, what?

Q: Would you rather never be able to eat pizza for the rest of your life or not be able to tell the difference between a muffin and a baby?

A: Definitely the baby one. Pizza is delicious. I mean, infants are pretty gross. And why would there be a basket of babies at a continental breakfast?!? Contextual thinking.

Q: Are you superstitious at all?

A: Ooo, I believe in ghosts.

Q: I meant do you have any pre-match rituals.

A: Oh, pre-match rituals! Robert Daniluk and I always have a handshake that's just personal between us that we do every match. I also listen to some ratchet music to get pumped up before matches — maybe a little Rick Ross, a little Riff Raff mix, to get my mind right.

Q: You missed last year's NCAA Championships with a broken ankle. How did you feel missing it?

A: It was unfortunate. I was there with the team, though, and I'd like to think that my coaching in large part influenced us on that win, but it was definitely unfortunate. It was pretty sad. It was the darkest time in my life, being injured, that's a no-brainer. I cried when they said I would miss the season.

Q: Really?

A: It wasn't like, serious cries. It was more just like the end of "The Notebook," where you're like, that's beautiful, but that's really sad.