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Fencers Reign Over New England Teams

By Oriana Hunter and Slywia Daniszewska
team members

The women's fencing team dominated the Boston College-hosted New England Championships, defeating all nine teams.

The victory made the team the New England Champions for the second year in a row. The women epeeists, Kari Backes '97, Nora Szasz '99, Sara Perry '99, and Jessica Sandland '99, were named the best epee squad in New England.

The impressive scores of Sara Perry (81), Kari Backes (81), and Nora Szasz qualified them for the individual epee competition in which they finished second, fifth, and sixth respectively.

The women's foil squad's performance was highlighted with memorable victories. Amy Huang '97 achieved her best personal record (81), and Aimee Wiltz '99 finished undefeated with a perfect score of 90. Excellent performances brought foilists Wanda Chin '97, Huang, and Wiltz to the individual competition, in which Chin captured third place.

The championship at Boston College included also an individual tournament for junior varsity foilists. Oriana Hunter '99, Beth Manoogian '99, and Aladdine Joroff '00had an opportunity to fight against starters from three other teams. The competition ended with Joroff finishing in fifth place.

Men second in New England

The day before the women's team became New England Champions, the men's fencing team was just narrowly edged out to finish second in the New England Men's Collegiate Fencing Championships. The MITfencers were a single bout shy of winning the championship title at the prestigious tournament Saturday at the University of New Hampshire.

Nevertheless, every squad of the men's team presented impressive form and a strong desire to fence well. The performance of the team was highlighted by a very impressive score of 54 for Allen Chen '00. Thomas Baker '00 scored a strong victory over a highly ranked fencer. A spectacular performance was made by Brian Bower '98, who stayed undefeated during the whole tournament (90).

Three fencers received sufficient scores to move into the individual round. Matt DuPlessie '99, placed seventh out of all epeeists present at UNH. Both foilist David Nauman '97 and sabreist Brian Bower '99, captured the titles of New England individual champions to prove their supremacy in their respective categories.

Fencer finishes eighth nationally

On the weekend of Feb. 14 to 17, seven MIT fencers competed in the Junior Olympics, held in Marlborough, Mass. This four-day individual competition hosted by the United States Fencing Association attracted the top junior fencers in the country.

Team captain Brian Bower '99 gave an outstanding performance in the Under 20 Men's Sabre event. Bower made the final round and placed eighth out of 128 fencers. Also in this elite group were members of the United States and British Junior National teams as well as North American Cup finalists.

Bower started his day with an excellent record of 51 in his initial pool and then went on to win five out of seven of his direct elimination bouts. Although the underdog, Bower demonstrated the skill and composure necessary to compete with the best.

An MIT fencer has not made the final round of the Junior Olympics since Keith Lichten '95 took third place in the Under 20 Men's Epee in 1993.

In the Under 20 Women's Epee event, Nora Szasz '99, in her first national competition, placed 17th out of 114 fencers. Despite injuries, Szasz finished her pool with an undefeated 60 record. She then won three of her five direct elimination bouts, before losing to the silver medalist in a very exciting bout.

Also fencing that weekend were Aimee Wiltz '99 in Under 20 Women's Epee, Sara Perry '99 and Meredith Rising '98 in Under 20 Women's Epee, Benjamin Vandiver '00 in Under 20 Men's Foil, and Evangelos Efstathiou '00 in Under 20 Men's Sabre.

Freshmen Vandiver and Efstathiou, who began the season with no prior fencing experience, gave spirited performances, demonstrating their excellent potential.