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Men’s Epee Top Squad At Duke

By Curtis Wade III

TEAM MEMBER

The men’s fencing team capped their season with an impressive showing at the Duke Invitational on Feb. 8, led by the epee squad’s trophy-winning performance.

The Engineers defeated Johns Hopkins University, Brandeis University, the University of North Carolina, and the team came just one bout shy of beating Duke University, losing 13-14. Although Duke’s foil and sabre squads won the remaining squad trophies, MIT’s foil and sabre were close seconds.

Four different fencers went 9-3 on the day -- epeeists Neal K. Devaraj ’02 and Samuel N. Korb ’05, sabrist Rafael E. Bras ’02, and foilist Oliver J. Chadwick ’02. Such a balanced performance came as no surprise to a team where each squad had identical 56 percent winning percentages against NCAA schools, but combined for an outstanding 17-5 (12-5 NCAA) record.

Epee squad builds to strong finish

After a sluggish 4-5 start against Duke, the men’s epee squad built up steam, winning 5-4 against Johns Hopkins, 7-2 against UNC, who had defeated them 4-5 the previous weekend, and 8-1 against Brandeis. By dominating the Brandeis squad, the epeeists helped seal the final team victory against a NCAA rival New England school. MIT remained undefeated against Harvard University, Brown University, Brandeis and Boston College, marking the first time in over 5 years that MIT has won all 7 meetings in a single season.

Mixed results at invitational

At the MIT/Brandeis Invitational on Feb. 3, the entire team displayed their post-season potential as MIT went head-to-head with New York University, the University of Pennsylvania, UNC, Yeshiva University, and Penn State. Although the team lost to NYU, Pennsylvania and Penn State, many individuals performed well. The sabre squad posted a 7-2 victory against Pennsylvania, behind Bras’ 3-0 sweep and the 2-1 efforts by Jason M. Levine ’03 and Anthony P. Reinen ’03. Levine (10-5 on the day) and Reinen, who the previous week defeated the fourth ranked sabre fencer in the country, both had solid outings.

Foilist Douglas J Quattrochi ’04 fenced well, sweeping Yeshiva. Epeeists Curtis Wade III ’02 and Matthew R. Levy ’04 each took two of the squad’s three victories against NYU and Pennsylvania, respectively. Against Penn State’s best-in-the-nation epee squad, Devaraj, Korb, and Wade each tallied one victory, including Wade’s defeat of last year’s fifth place finisher, and Korb’s 5-1 trouncing of the silver medallist.

Not only did the Engineers post their best finish in several seasons, they did so while adding two of the top teams in the nation to their schedule. Defeats at the hands of Pennsylvania State University and the Pennsylvania earlier in the season were offset by MIT’s four-victory season against Boston College and the University of North Carolina, who accounted for three of the team’s five losses last year.

Championships begin Saturday

This weekend, the team will turn its attention to the New England Conference Championships, where they hope to reclaim the title they’ve held for two of the past three seasons. The Championship also has an individual component. Bras, Chadwick, who finished first two years ago and third last year, William F. MacFarlane ’05, gold medal winner at the season-opening “Big One” tournament, and Devaraj, who finished third last year and is 19-2 against New England fencers this season, will each look to bring home gold medals.

The tournament should be an official confirmation of MIT’s status as the most dominant school in the conference. The following weekend the team will attempt to upset New York-area powerhouses at the Intercollegiate Fencing Association Championships.