The Brandeis men’s and women’s fencing teams started their 2015-16 season this past Friday at the New England Fall Collegiate Championship at Smith College. The team started off strong with senior captain Caroline Mattos ’16 leading the way on the women’s side, taking gold in the foil competition for the second time in her collegiate career. Transfer Elishua Litle ’18 won silver in the foil competition for the men’s side. Other top performances came from Ashley Jean ’17, who placed fifth overall in the sabre and Kyle Berney ’18, who took silver in the sabre for the second year in a row. The fencing team is led this year by head coach Bill Shipman, with captains Caroline Mattos for the women and Tom Hearne ’16 for the men. The Brandeis Hoot conducted email interviews with both captains to learn more about these two leaders and the world of fencing.
Mattos is a double major in Politics and Film, Television and Interactive Media, hoping to one day work at ESPN or NBC as a producer. She enjoys an active lifestyle by participating in intramural sports when she is not fencing. Mattos feels that the highlights of her collegiate career were going to NCAA’s her first and sophomore year, as well as participating in KUEFI, a Korean tournament last year. Mattos’ personal goal for her final season with the Judges is to qualify for the NCAA’s, which would be especially significant since they are being held at Brandeis this year. Her team goal is for her teammates to work their hardest. Mattos describes her leadership style as fairly lenient except for when it comes to attendance. She said, “I expect people to understand that since this is a varsity sport, there is a lot of commitment necessary to ensure the success of the team.” One of her favorite parts about competing for Brandeis’ fencing team is being part of a supportive group with a truly caring coach.
Men’s captain Tom Hearne is a double major in Studio Art and Art History. Hearne described beating Duke his sophomore year for the first time and going undefeated as a team that same day as one of his favorite moments in fencing. Beating Harvard’s epee squad, though not as a full team, at the Beanpot Tournament his sophomore year was another highlight. More recently, some personal highlights of last season were improving his performance at Regionals and coming slightly closer to qualifying for NCAA’s. This season, Hearne’s personal goal is also to qualify for NCAA’s, which he says is a goal for many others on the team with the same motivation of having Brandeis host the tournament. He goes on to say, “It is an honor to be able to fence in this event but it would be especially rewarding to compete in it right here in Gosman.” Another team goal is to do well at this year’s Duke Invitational in February, although Hearne believes that the field will be much stronger than previous years with schools like Notre Dame and Penn State also competing.
The Judges will return to competition on Nov. 21 with the first of two Northeast Fencing meets held at Brown University, while the Brandeis Invitational will be held Dec. 6 in Gosman.