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Individual Varsity Fencers Perform Well at Regionals

By Jennifer Mosier
Associate Sports Editor

The men's and women's varsity fencing teams concluded their seasons March 10 at the Division I NCAA Regional Championships, held at Wellesley College. Thirteen individuals qualified for this prestigious tournament; the regionals serve as part of the criteria for selection to the NCAA National Championships.

The format differs from the regular season's format in that there is no team competition and only individuals can qualify to regional or national competition this year. The tournament is run in pools of five or six people, all the way up to a final pool of six people to determine the winner.

Since the fencers who qualify for higher rounds do so on the basis of their record for the previous round, every touch counts to determine placement if two competitors tie for wins.

In men's epe, Jonathan Blandford '97 had an outstanding performance, defeating some of the top fencers in the competition. He finished 13th, only four touches away from a spot in the final 10. David Lewinnek '97 also competed well, ending in 21st place.

In women's foil, captain Wanda Chin '97 finished 17th out of the 43 competitors. Amy Hwang '97 and Leejee Suh '97 also fenced well, ending up in 30th and 38th place, respectively.

In men's foil, captain David Nauman '97 fenced beautifully, ending the day in eighth place. Jae Park '98 finished 20th out of the 26 fencers competing.

In men's sabre, Brian Bower '99 once again competed well, missing the top ten by only one touch, and finishing in 11th place. Teammate Josh Trauner '97 was close behind in 19th place.

Women's epe places well

Once again the women's epe squad dominated the competition. All four starters not only qualified, but placed among the top 24 out of 41 fencers at the tournament.

Merideth Rising '98 fenced a very strong tournament and finished eighth, only eight touches away from the final pool of six. Kari Backes '96 was not far behind in 12th place and fenced an outstanding tournament, especially given that she has only been competing in the sport for six months. Jennifer Mosier '96 also fenced well, ending in 14th place, only two touches away from the round of 12, while Nicky Leifer '98 finished in 22nd place.

Based on their season records and their performances at regionals, three MIT fencers - Rising in women's epe, Nauman in men's foil, and Bower in men's sabre - were in the running for nationals. Unfortunately, the special regional committee's final decision resulted in none of the fencers qualifying to Nationals, despite their excellent performances.

Despite the disappointing results of the regional selection committee, the team is looking forward to an even stronger finish next season, with only two out of the 22 varsity members graduating.