A recap of the fencing season, from the inside

March 14, 2008

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While I appreciate the subtle appreciation behind it, I am very sick of the too-often asked questions, “Oh, you’re on the fencing team? They’re supposed to be good, right?” Like I said, I’m glad that the inquisitor knows (or is at least pretending to know) that the fencing team is “supposed to be good,” but (maybe I’m alone in this) if I were the inquisitor I think I would like to know for myself if the fencing team is good or not.

This article is for you, dear inquisitor, so that the next time you find yourself face-to-face with a member of the Brandeis Fencing Team, you won’t have to ask because you’ll already know.

After coming out of the UAA conference with a championship for the Men’s team and a runner’s-up placement for the Women’s, the two fencing squads squared up for their final four competitions of the season: the New England Championships, the Intercollegiate Fencing Association Championships, NCAA Northeastern Regionals, and NCAA Nationals.

The New England Championships were arguably the easiest of the four competitions. They’re comprised mostly of non-varsity club teams and most of the varsity teams save their best fencers for the following weekend’s competition, the IFA’s. Still, the Judges did well with the Women finishing second overall and the Men third. The woman’s foil squad was also recognized as the best woman’s foil squad of the day.

Some individual achievements included JD Carroll ‘09 finishing first in Men’s foil with an undefeated day, Mike Still ‘08 finishing sixth in men’s epee, Alex Dalrymple ‘11 finishing fifth in women’s foil, Naveen George ‘10 finishing fifth in men’s saber and yours truly finishing sixth in women’s epee.

Next up for the Judges was IFA’s. This competition features twelve of the most talented fencing teams in the nation: Boston College, Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Harvard University, M.I.T., New York University, Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, Vassar College, Yale University and, of course, Brandeis.

IFA’s this year were in New York City, which gave alumni epeeists Kai Keller ‘07 and Andrew Sofer ‘07 a chance to visit their old teammates. The tournament went well for Brandeis, especially considering the difficulty of the competition. The Men and Women’s teams combined finished sixth, with the Men’s team finishing an overall sixth and the women’s finishing seventh. Will Friedman ‘09 finished third in men’s foil.

Seven days after IFA’s, the Judges found themselves back in New York, this time at Vassar College in Poughkeepise. To determine which fencers get the chance to compete at Nationals, each region of the United States has a competition for local colleges and the best in each weapon go to Ohio (where Nationals are this year). The bigger the region, the more fencers go to Nationals. The Northeast is one of the biggest regions in the country and eight fencers from each weapon would be flying to Ohio on March 12.

Regionals are the second hardest competition of the year for the fencing team. Only the best fencers from each school get to go, and with so few spots to fill, the competition is fierce. Overall, the Judges did well, though perhaps not as well as they had hoped. After a long day of competition, only two fencers qualified.

Caitlin Kozel ‘09 finished the day in fourth place in Women’s epee and Friedman finished seventh. Fortunately, two at-large bids are given out nationally to two other fencers per weapon and Eugene Vortsman ‘08 was chosen as one of the two for men’s foil. The three fencers are currently at Ohio State, competing against the best fencers in the nation.

In all, the Brandeis fencing team had a great year. With many promising freshman, the team can only get better. Assistant Coach Daniel Korschun stated, “the team had some great accomplishments this year. Although we’ll be losing some leaders at the end of this season, we also have tremendous depth, so I expect that next year we’ll be able to build on this year’s successes.” Brandeis has a strong team which will continue to be strong and deliver results that the entire university can be proud of.

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