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Fencers send three to Nationals

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Section: Featured, Sports

March 14, 2014

At the NCAA National Championship Northeast regional qualifiers on Sunday, March 9, three Brandeis fencers did well enough to advance to Nationals later this month.

Held at Wellesley College, the Regionals tournament saw fencers from Brandeis University, Boston College, Brown University, City College of New York, Columbia University, Cornell University, Harvard University, Hunter College, MIT, NYU, Queens College, Sacred Heart University, St. John’s University, Tufts University, Vassar College, Wellesley College, Yale University and Yeshiva University. Fencers competed individually rather than as squads as they had during most of the previous meets. The tournament was formatted in elimination pools. A select number of fencers of each weapon advanced to the championships, and on Mar. 20-23, the 55 fencers from the Northeast region will compete against the 89 other fencers from the Mid-Atlantic/South, Midwest and West regions at Ohio State University.

Saberist Deborah Abiri ’16 was eliminated after finishing 2-2 in the first pool, coming in 36th for the day. Nina Sayles ’17 and Jaclyn Hammond ’17, both rookies, moved on to the second round. Although neither mustered enough wins to advance further in the competition, Sayles went 2-4 in the round, and Hammond won one bout, and the two placed 26th and 31st, respectively.

The men’s saber team brought Adam Mandel ’15, Jess Ochs-Willard ’15 and Ben Loft ’15 to the tournament. Mandel placed fifth, which qualifies him to go to Ohio State. He earned All-American status last year at the tournament, finishing 12th in the nation. There was a possibility that Ochs-Willard would join him, for Ochs-Willard was being considered for an at-large bid, but ultimately, the committee did not select him. Loft tied for 19th with an NYU fencer.

Also representing Brandeis at Nationals will be female foilist Caroline Mattos ’16. She ended with a 15-8 record for the day and placed fourth in her weapon. Mattos, who went to Nationals last year, spoke about her experience at Wellesley: “During the final pool, I was stressed out because I wasn’t doing well and really wanted to qualify [for Nationals]. I realized that I couldn’t keep thinking about qualifying and had to focus on each touch, and it turned out in my favor.” She is hoping to improve on her ranking of 23rd from her first Nationals competition. Vikki Nunley ’14, Annie Kim ’16 and Emilia Dwyer ’16 were also competitive on their foil strips, but none will advance. Nunley was 1-5, Kim 4-6, and Dwyer 3-7. All ranked below 35th.

The men’s foil team will also be sending one competitor, Noah Berman ’15. In his third time at Regionals, he finished with a 9-14 record that secured his spot as 11th in his weapon. Julian Cardillo ’14 was close to advancing to Nationals again, but he came in 16th because of his 8-4 record. Len Grazian ’17, 8-8, came in two spots behind his senior teammate, and Ethan Levy ’15 tied for 27th with a fencer from Yale.

The two women’s epee fencers to join the team at Regionals were Sonya Glickman ’16 and Gwen Mowell ’16. 21st at the end of the day, Glickman held a 7-9 record. Mowell’s first pool record was 2-2, and she tied Yale’s Alison Barton for 35th, but only one of the two fencers could advance to the second round. They fenced one bout to break the tie, but Barton won, eliminating Mowell, whose ranking came in at 36th.

Coming from behind was epeeist Ari Feingersch ’16, who did very impressively considering his initial seed of 20. At the conclusion of the tournament, he was ranked 13th. Tom Hearne ’16 finished 30th, while teammate Justin Kwon ’15 came in 34th.

Schools that are sending fencers to the Championships are Brandeis, Brown, Cleveland State University, Columbia, Barnard, Duke University, Harvard, MIT, Pennsylvania State University, Princeton University, Sacred Heart, St. John’s, Stanford University, Ohio State, University of Notre Dame, the University of Pennsylvania, NJIT, NYU, the Air Force Academy, Wayne State University, University of California, San Diego, the University of North Carolina, Yale, Cornell, Northwestern University and Temple University.

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