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Fencers take 4th in regionals

By Sara Ontiveros

The women's fencing team took fourth place this past weekend in the Northeast Regional Championships held in the Johnson Athletic Center.

The women's team was one of six to qualify out of the 15 or so teams in the Northeast region. The Engineers started in a three-team pool with top-seeded Columbia University and Cornell University.

MIT began the day with a rousing 9-3 triumph over Cornell, whose subsequent loss to Columbia allowed MIT and Columbia to advance to the second round of competition along with Yale University and New York University from the other pool.

Tech's lady blades kept Yale at bay during the first round but could not hold on and dropped the meet 9-3. MIT then battled NYU for third place and lost 9-3 after a hard fight. The final ranking of teams was as follows: Columbia, Yale, NYU, MIT, Cornell and Wellesley College.

The individual event on Sunday consisted of the top 24 fencers in the region, three of which belonged to MIT.

Sara Ontiveros '93 fought hard but didn't advance out of her first round pool of six. Alice Chang G suffered a similar fate, missing the second round by a single touch.

Captain Felice Swapp '92 plunged into the semi-final round as Tech's sole remaining representative. The withdrawal of a Columbia fencer from her semi-final pool made it necessary for Swapp to beat Birney -- top fencer from Harvard -- in order to advance to the finals.

With less than one minute to fence, Swapp was down 3-4 when she charged Birney, hitting her on the target, and tying the bout

4-4. The unsettled Birney proceeded to attack Swapp who parried and riposted with a one-lighter.

The MIT team exploded in ecstasy as Swapp qualified for the final round. Traditionally, fencers with strong dual-meet records who qualify for the final round of this event are invited to attend the NCAA Nationals. Swapp earned fifth place in the final standings, Chang won 13th and Ontiveros earned 21st.

In mid-March an NCAA committee will announce the national championship qualifiers; the team anxiously awaits captain Swapp's fate.

(Sara Ontiveros '93 is manager of the women's fencing team.)