Skylar Westley, a senior from Egg Harbor, NJ, is a four-year member of Swarthmore’s jousting team. Westley competed in the Eastern Pennsylvania Intercollegiate Jousting Tournament this past weekend, posting a 6-0 record. Westley, currently ranked No. 4 in the nation, and the No. 1 ranked Swarthmore team compete this Friday, April 1, in the National Collegiate Jousting Association Championships in Old York, NY.
Asha Bhuiyan: What has your experience been like as part of the jousting team the past four years?
Skylar Westley: It’s been amazing. I love being part of the team and competing with my friends and my horse, Buttercup. After a season-ending injury when I fell off my horse freshman year, and two years of COVID interrupting the athletic schedules — but after all, like in the Middle Ages, pandemics are bound to happen — I am so grateful I was able to compete this year.
AB: What has been your most memorable moment of the season so far?
SW: My most memorable moment of the season was when we defeated the University of Phoenix in a virtual joust. I can’t say that it’s too similar to the real thing, but knocking my ex off their pixelated steed made the win an especially sweet one.
AB: What are your goals for the rest of the season?
SW: My goal is to win at nationals, both in the individual and team event. While we are the number one team in the country, it will be tough facing Slippery Rock University and William & Mary, as they are ranked right behind us. I’m ranked fourth in the individual event due to an eighth place finish at the Swarthmore Invitational last month, as Buttercup got scared and disqualified us from the match, but I think I’ll be able to defeat my opponents this Friday.
AB: What is your favorite thing to do with the team outside of practice?
SW: Movie nights! Sometimes before tournaments, I enjoy watching a good medieval flick with the team. We watched “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” last weekend the night before my tournament win.
AB: Why did you choose Swarthmore?
SW: I had to, of course, choose a school with a jousting team. Swarthmore was a school that allows me to do everything: joust, study hard, and meet students with similar interests. Also, the architecture here is a really cool mix of Gothic, Victorian, and post-modern.
AB: What is your major, and why?
SW: I’m a double major in engineering and medieval studies. I love medieval sports, studying medieval history, and reading about jousting, so medieval studies was an obvious choice. I am an engineering major because I enjoy learning about technology in the past and present. After graduation, I will be working to help restore and build medieval structures and objects. Also, engineering is so fun, I even 3D print my own lances and jousting equipment! For my E90 project, I will be constructing a working drawbridge to deploy across Crum Creek.
AB: What is your favorite class you’ve taken at Swarthmore?
SW: Music 8C. Medievalism in Music and Media. It’s cool learning about how medieval times are represented in the media today.
AB: Favorite Sharples bar?
SW: Meat and mead bar!