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MIT Women Fencers Are New England Champions

By Evangelos Efstathiou

The MIT Women Fencers reclaimed their title as Women’s New England Fencing Champions on Feb. 21. MIT, which competes in NCAA Division I play for fencing, has won three of the last four New England championships.

Sylwia Daniszewska ’00 was the most valuable player of the day, going undefeated against ten schools in the team event. She and fellow epeeists Nora Szasz ’99 and Sara Perry ’99 led their squad and all advanced to the finals.

“I’m really proud of what the women have accomplished. Fencing Division I schools has been a challenge this year, but winning New Englands was no small feat,” said Team Captain Aimee Wiltz ’99 In her third year as team captain, she has been the driving force behind the team. Other seniors who have contributed to the Women’s success include foilists Oriana Hunter ’99 and Beth Manoogian ’99, and epeeist Jessica Sandland ’99.

The top fencers in the team event qualified to the individual championships. Szasz won the epee championship, while Daniszewska took 7th and Perry 9th. In women’s foil, Wiltz took fourth place.

To win New Englands, MIT had to edge out Wellesley, Tufts, Boston College, and Brown University, among other schools. This weekend, seven MIT women’s fencers will fence many of their opponents in the NCAA Regional championships, which are qualifiers to Nationals.

Other highlights include MIT’s performance in the exhibition Women’s sabre competition. Caroline Purcell ’02, Kit Lennox ’02 and Jen McKeehan ’02, as well as Caprice Gray ’00 competed. Purcell won the tournament. She is currently the top ranked under-20 fencer in the country. She fences on Mar. 6 in Budapest, Hungary in the Womens Sabre World Cup.

The women’s freshman team also had star performances, providing a highlight of MIT’s rising talent. In womens epee, Zahra Kanji ’01 took 2nd, followed by Natalie Cusano ’02 and Aimee Chou ’02 at 3rd and 4th place. In foil, Jade Joan Hon ’02 placed second.

Many members of the team began their fencing career at MIT. Both the Men’s and Women’s teams are coached by Jarek Koniusz, now in his 7th year as head coach.