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Men's and Women's Fencing Finish Well in IFA Champs

By Jennifer Mosier
Associate Sports Editor

The men's and women's varsity fencing teams hosted the 99th Intercollegiate Fencing Association Championships this past weekend.

The competition was intense as some of the top teams and individuals in the United States fought for the championship, including fencers from Yale, Harvard, NYU, St John's University, UPenn, Columbia, Brandeis, MIT, Brown, and Cornell (women only). The MIT team finished 8th overall in this difficult tournament, ahead of both Brown and Cornell.

The format for the IFAs pitted team against team, where each win counted towards both a team and squad total. Each fencer was designated fence in a pool A through D,where they faced similarly ranked opponents. However, every fencer was also vying for a chance to make it up to the individual round on Sunday.

For the men, the top six from pool A, four from pool B and two from pool C advanced to the individual round. The women's individual was comprised of six A fencers, three B fencers, two C fencers and one D fencer.

This was the first year that women were included in the IFAs ,and the MIT women had a good showing, finishing 7th as a team. The foil squad ended the day in 8th place and the epee squad tied with St. John's for 6th place.

Individually, Merideth Rising '98 once again led the team as she was the only one to qualify for the individual competition. Rising finished 9th in women's epee, having missed the finals by only one touch.

Also contributing to the team's victories were Kari Backes '96 with six victories in the epee D pool, Nicky Leifer '98 with four in the epee C pool. Jennifer Mosier '96 (epee B), Amy Hwang '97 (foil B), and Aimee Wiltz '99 (foil D) each had three victories. Captain Wanda Chin '97 (foil A) and Leejee Suh '97 (foil C) each finished with two victories.

The men's team finished the day in 8th place, decisively beating Brown, with sabre and foil both in 8th place and epee in 9th.

Josh Trauner '97 just missed qualifying to the individual competition by only four touches in the sabre B pool. Captain David Nauman '97 also almost qualified, but was one victory shy in the foil A pool.

Also contributing victories were Tan Trinh '96 with three in foil C, Jae Park '98 (foil B), Ruben Brown '99 (sabre C), Jonathan Blandford '98 (epee B) all with two victories, and Brian Bower '99 in sabre A with one victory.

"I am really glad I got to compete at this high level of fencing. I feel better prepared and more confident for regionals now," said Park.

The strong regular season by the team resulted in 13 individuals - an MIT fencing record - qualifying for the Division I NCAA Regional Championships to be held on March 10 at Wellesley College.

The qualifiers are: Rising, Mosier, Leifer, and Backes in women's epee; Chin, Hwang, and Suh in women's foil; Bower and Trauner in men's sabre; Dave Lewinnek '97 and Blandford in men's epee; and Nauman and Park in men's foil.