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Three fencers qualify for NCAA Championships

On this past Sunday, March 12, both the women’s and men’s fencing teams represented the Judges at the 2023 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Northeast Regional Championships at Harvard University. According to the US Fencing Coaches Association, the women’s fencing team is ranked fifth in Division III, and the men’s team is ranked sixth in Division III. The Judges went into the competition looking to punch their ticket to the NCAA National Championships at Duke University in two weeks.  

On the men’s side of the competition, the Judges had two fencers from the sabre squad, Tony Escueta ’25 and Lev BenAvram ’26, qualify for the upcoming NCAA National Championships. This was Escueta’s second year in a row qualifying. Though he came into the competition as the 17th seed, Escueta earned a record of 5-1 in his bouts while in the first round with a pool of 35 other competitors. BenAvram came into the competition as the eighth seed and went 3-3 in his first round bouts. Berwyn Lu ’24 also went 3-3 in the first round, earning the final spot in the semifinal round qualifying pool where he would have his final bouts of the day. In the semifinals, the pool was composed of 21 fencers. Both Escueta and BenAvram had records of 4-2 to conclude their semifinal round bouts. These records earned Escueta and BenAvram in the sixth and eighth seeds heading into the final round of 12 competitors. In the final round, Escueta finished with a record of 6-5, winning against fencers from New York University, Columbia University, two Boston College (BC) fencers, as well as his fellow Judge fencer. BenAvram also won against the two BC fencers and the fencer from Columbia University, as well as competitors from Vassar College and St. John’s University to round out his five wins. Escueta and BenAvram finished fourth and sixth respectively. 

For the men’s epee squad, Tal Konrod ’25 represented the Judges through the epee semifinals. Konrod came into the competition seeded 17th. He earned a bout record of 4-2 in the first round, and collected one win in the semifinals. 

Luke Ritchie ’24 represented the men’s team in the foil field, making it to the semifinal round as well. Though Ritchie came into the foil competition ranked 30th, his 3-3 record and plus-1 indicator in the first round, and one win in the semifinal round earned him a 19th place in the overall foil standings. 

In the women’s competition, the Judges had one fencer, Maggie Shealy ’23, qualify for the NCAA Championships. This will be Shealy’s third time competing at NCAA’s. She came into the championships seeded fifth and qualified for the semifinals with ease, winning five of her six bouts in the first round. Shealy was joined in the semifinals by fellow Judge, Kat Xikes ’26 who qualified for the semifinals with a 3-3 record and a minus-3 indicator. Though Xikes was unable to qualify for the finals, Shealy did off of a 3-3 semifinal record and +6 indicator. This earned Shealy the tenth spot of 12 in the final round. In the final pool, Shealy went 5-6, winning against fencers from St. John’s University, Harvard University, Cornell University and two of the four Columbia University fencers in the sabre finals. With her record and minus-8 indicator, Shaely captured ninth place in the overall competition. 

For the women’s epee squad, Olivia Bennett ’26, Calla Lee ’25 and Bronwyn Rothman-Hall ’25 finished together in 35th, 36th, and 37th in the overall standings.

The women’s foil squad was represented by Hannah Du ’26 who earned two wins to place 30th in the overall standings. 

Having three athletes heading to the NCAA Fencing Championships, Escueta, BenAvram, and Shealy will have two final weeks of training before heading to North Carolina for March 23 and 24.

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