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Fencing teams win New England crown

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By Martin Dickau

The women's fencing team provided the second half of a successful weekend for MIT fencing, winning the New England Fencing Championships at Rhode Island College Sunday.

Freshman Linda Ystueta went on to take the individual crown, winning a three-way fence-off with two members of the UMass squad.

MIT avoided a strong challenge by second-place Wellesley College, taking the team title by three bouts, 42-39. Host RIC placed third with 37, and Harvard was fourth at 33.

The win avenged last year's New Englands, when MIT finished second to Wellesley.

The MIT victory was built on a consistent team performance, as the squad lost only six of its 48 bouts. All four team members qualified for the 12-fencer individual finals.

Karen Dryer '88 played a key role in the win, taking all 10 of the regular bouts she fenced and adding three more by forfeit. Dryer's only two losses came in the finals, where she placed seventh.

Team captain Penny Axelrad '85 finished in fourth place, missing getting into the fence-off by one touch. Ann Zabludoff '86, who had an off day, won 10 of her regular bouts, but then dropped three in the finals to place ninth.

Ystueta won three of her four bouts in the finals and faced UMass' Rita Gavelis and Anne Giuliano in a barrage to determine first place.

Ystueta and Gavelis both defeated Giuliano and met for the deciding bout. The MIT fencer overcame a number of equipment problems and was ahead, 3-4, when time ran out.

The junior varsity team was not far behind the senior squad's performance, as Joan Muellerleile '85 captured the individual title. Muellerleile defeated two Wellesley fencers and teammate Ann LaVin '85 in a four-way fence-off for first.

The Engineers finished in second place, four bouts behind Wellesley and 10 ahead of Brandeis.

The varsity squad ended its regular season last week with a pair of easy victories. Brown, which finished fifth in the New Englands, provided little more than target practice Wednesday, as MIT romped, 13-3.

Wellesley, despite its second-place showing at the championships, fared little better Thursday, falling 12-4.

MIT is now preparing for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Eastern Regionals, which will be hosted by Columbia University Saturday and Sunday.

Those fencers who do well enough to qualify will go on to the NCAA National Championships at Notre Dame March 21-23.