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Men's Fencing Faces Tough Teams at Duke

By David Nauman
Team member

In the continuing drive to bring the MIT fencing team to a nationally competitive level, both the men's and women's teams drove to North Carolina this past weekend to fence schools whose experience far surpassed that found in New England. Duke hosted the two-day competition, with Notre Dame, Air Force, UNC Chapel Hill and Brandeis fencing as well.

Early Friday morning, the MIT men's team first faced off against Duke. The Blue Devils stepped up to the strip with vigor and beat MIT 207 in a match which was closer than the final tally indicated. The MIT sabre squad fought hard to a close 45 loss, with squad leader Josh Trauner '97 going 21. The epeeists fell 27, with David Lewinnek '97 bringing in the two wins. The foil squad lost 18.

Next the fencers were matched up against the 1995 NCAA bronze medal team Notre Dame. Though all three squads lost (epee 27, foil 18, sabre 27) it was a meet that showed MIT's potential. Captain David Nauman '97 won the only foil bout 51 against the number one Fighting Irish fencer, Jeremy Siek. Siek placed 12th at the NCAA championships last year and is ranked 32nd in the United States Fencing Association.

The meet against Air Force, a team that placed 14th last year at the NCAA nationals, started off poorly for the MIT fencers. Still mentally down after the defeat by Notre Dame, the Engineers lost the first 16 bouts of the match. Late in the second round, led by a win by Jae Park '98, the men's team bounced back and won five of the last 11, making the third round as competitive as the rest should have been.

The final round's meet pitted MIT against a local favorite, UNC- Chapel Hill. Still fighting to regain lost momentum, MIT finished with a disappointing 918 result, a loss which could have gone the other way had MIT's fencers managed to turn around their seven 45 defeats. The epee squad ended at 27, foil at 45, and led by Brian Bower '99 (21), the sabre squad went 36.

The next competition, the New England Championships, will be held at University of New Hampshire the weekend of the 24th.