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Shealy crowned National Champion at NCAAs

To conclude the 2023-24 fencing season, graduate student Maggie Shealy (GRAD) capped off her phenomenal season with the title any National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) athlete dreams of, National Champion. 

On Friday, March 22, Shealy became the first woman in school history to win a national championship against Division I competition. As fencing is uniquely categorized in the NCAA, Shealy and her fellow teammates are a rarity amongst Division III athletes as their National Championships include competition from Division I teams. This year, the NCAA Fencing Championships were held at the Ohio State University. Though the university has seen 26 other National Champions, Maggie is the first for the Brandeis fencing program. Additionally, the 26 other National Champions have all been on the track and field and cross country teams. Thus, this was an extremely exciting win for the Brandeis Athletic Program. 

On the competition side of things, Shealy came into the final day of competition as the top-ranked sabre fencer in the field as she went 12-3 in the first three rounds of action. In the semifinals, Shealy had a decisive win against a fencer from Columbia University. In the finals, Shealy won three straight points after her competitor established leads of 2-0 and 3-1. After winning three straight points to go ahead 4-3, Shealy never trailed again. Though her competitor tied the score at one point, Shealy held her off and won the national championship by a 15-10 score. With her 18 wins in pool play, Shealy also earned the Judges an overall team score of 16th place among the 20 teams represented at the competition. This was especially impressive as Shealy was the only female representative to represent the Judges here. 

On the men’s side of competition, there was another impressive performance. Tony Escueta ’25 went on to finish in eighth place in the men’s sabre competition. Being in the same event as Maggie, this is a wonderful display of the Judges’ strength in sabre. This was Escueta’s second year in a row earning All-Division All-America honors. Based on the Brandeis record books, this eight-place finish makes Escueta the highest finish by a male fencer at the NCAA Championships since 2008. 

Combining both Shealy and Escueta’s performances, they collectively placed 15th as a team.

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