Fencing competes at Duke, Beanpot and NEIFC Championships as Shealy heads to Jr. Olympics

February 28, 2020

The Brandeis Fencing squads began a three tournament run at the Duke University Invitational in Durham, NC at the beginning of the month. The men posted a 1-4 record, defeating the Johns Hopkins University and falling to the University of Notre Dame, Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), the University of North Carolina (UNC) and the hosts from Duke. 

Against the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays, former members of the University Athletic Association (UAA), the Judges won by an 18-9 decision, getting five wins in sabre, six in foil and seven in epee. Brandeis almost upset opponents from the number four ranked Penn State Lions as they fell by a close score of 13-14, as well as nearly defeating the North Carolina Tar Heels in their battle with a final score of 12-15. 

The top performer of the weekend was first-year Ben Rogak ’23 who ended the tournament with an impressive 11-4 record as part of the epee squad. He was undefeated against both Penn State and North Carolina, as well as 2-1 against Notre Dame and Johns Hopkins. For his successes, Rogak was awarded UAA Men’s Fencer of the Week for the week ending on Feb. 9. This was Rogak’s first time to be named with this honor, as he remains in second for the most number of wins for the Judges this season with an overall score of 42-31.

On the women’s side, the Judges fell to all five of their competitors from Notre Dame, Penn State, Temple, North Carolina and the home team of Duke. Rookie Jessica Morales ’23 led the way for Brandeis with a 9-6 overall record as she garnered wins against competitors from all five schools. She was undefeated against North Carolina and posted winning records against Notre Dame and Duke with identical scores of 2-1.

The Judges headed back north to Massachusetts to compete in the annual Beanpot Tournament against fellow rivals of the Boston area. Both the men and the women came out on top against the Engineers of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), but also fell to both Harvard and Boston College (BC). In their wins over MIT, the women posted a score of 15-12 with four wins in sabre, six in foil and five in epee. 

Veteran Jessica Gets ’20 went 7-2 on the weekend in the foil category, sweeping MIT 3-0 and holding 2-1 winning records against both Harvard and BC. Madeleine Vibert ’21 also went 3-0 against MIT and finished with four wins in epee. 

For the men, the Judges won by the same margin against the Engineers with three sabre wins, eight for foil and four in epee. Sam Chestna ’20 and Elliot Siegel ’23 were undefeated against MIT, while Alek Broszkowski went 2-1 to help lead the Judges in the win.

Brandeis went off to New York next, competing in the New England Intercollegiate Fencing Conference Championships held at Vassar College. The Judges fought hard to receive three bronze medals as individuals, while the men also came in third place overall across each of the three weapon standings. 

The top squads were both from the sabre category, as the men’s sabre team placed in second, while the women came in third. As individuals, Lucas Lin ’23 brought home a bronze medal in men’s sabre, while rookie Maggie Shealy ’23 and Gets also won this honor in women’s sabre and women’s foil respectively. Jada Harrison ’22 also posted a sixth place finish in women’s sabre and Braden Vaccari ’23 came in eighth for men’s sabre.

In addition to competing with her fellow Brandeis teammates, Shealy went off to Columbus, OH to test her bouts in the 2020 Junior Olympics. She fought in the sabre category and worked to finish in 13th place out of 227 other challengers. After going 4-1 in pool play, Shealy received the 50th seed to head into the elimination rounds. She was awarded a bye in the first round and went on to defeat her 178th seed competitor by a score of 15-9 in the second round. 

In the third round, Shealy faced Maverick Doherty of Southern California, who was the 15th seed. Shealy outpaced Doherty by a margin of 15-9 to head into the fourth round where she faced Natalie Mataiev of New England. She won this round with a score of 15-11 to advance to the Sweet 16. It was here that Shealy fell to Erika Chin of St. Louis by a close score of just 15-14.

For the week ending on March 1, three Brandeis fencers were awarded UAA Athlete of the Week. These honorees were Shealy, Gets and Lin. In just two weeks, Brandeis will head up to Cornell University to take on the NCAA Regionals.

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