McDowald’s weapon is the epée. It’s the largest and heaviest weapon in the fencing arsenal, and competing with the weapon requires a chess player’s appreciation for tactics. A native of Queens, McDowald began studying the art at the Peter Westbrook Foundation, which was founded by the first Black fencer to win an Olympic medal for the USA (Peter Westbrook took home a bronze for Team USA in 1984, in men’s saber). He showed a talent for the sport, very early on, but he also had a persistence, and diligence in practice, which put him, shall we say, a cut above his contemporaries.