Fencing Crushes RivalsBy Curtis Wade III
MIT’s fencing squads closed their New England Championships season on Feb. 23 with an emphatic confirmation of their season-long, unofficial status as the strongest team in the New England Conference -- MIT walked away with every team award and most of the squad and individual awards.
Among the four trophies, nine plaques, eight individual varsity medals, and five junior varsity medals awarded the team were Best Men’s Team, Best Women’s Team, Best Combined Team, Best Squad for Men’s Foil, Men’s Epee, Women’s Sabre and Women’s Foil, three varsity gold medals and two JV gold medals.
Coach Jarek Koniusz said, “It’s the most amazing performance I’ve seen in my nine years at MIT.”
MIT dominates Brown
The men ended last year’s championships in a tie with Brown University, forcing a fence-off which they ultimately lost. This year, there was no doubt as the men finished a full 14 victories (68-54) ahead of Brown. Both the foil and epee squads swept Brown, giving the Engineers an unofficial, moral victory. Brown’s epee squad took first place last year, so the victory was especially sweet for the epee squad. The women finished the day 12 victories ahead of their nearest opponent (67-55), clinching their second consecutive title.
Six go undefeated in finals
In the finals, foilists Susannah M. Dorfman ’05, Vincent Chen ’05, Danielle M. Morse ’02, and Oliver J. Chadwick ’02, sabrist Caroline M. Purcell ’02, and epeeist Neal K. Devaraj ’02 all remained undefeated. MIT advanced 10 other fencers to the final round. Despite fencing well, Crystal Shih ’03 and Anthony P. Reinen ’03 both narrowly missed making the cut, tying for second place in the pool in wins, and placing second, respectively.
Dorfman remained undefeated throughout the finals, winning the women’s foil gold medal. Christine A. Yee ’03 won bronze and Morse placed seventh. Oliver J. Chadwick added a silver medal in men’s foil, while Chen just missed a medal, finishing fourth. Devaraj went 7-1 in the finals to secure the men’s epee gold, losing only to teammate Curtis Wade III ’02, who won bronze.
In women’s epee, Jennifer A. Lue ’03 placed fifth, and Natalie E. Cusano ’02 took eighth. Rafael E. Bras ’02 brought home a bronze in men’s sabre. Women’s sabre had the highest combined finish, as Jennifer A. McKeehan G won gold, Priscilla Del Castillo ’04 took bronze, and Purcell finished fourth.
JV fencers earn gold medals
While the varsity finals were underway, junior varsity sabrist Michael P. Pihulic ’04 and epeeist Matthew R. Levy ’04 each earned gold medals. Both have been valuable substitutes during the year, and were talented enough to be B-levels fencers for the most of the schools at the championships Sam H. Kendig ’05 (sabre) and Farhan I. Merali ’05 (epee) finished ninth and eighth.
In men’s foil, Douglas J. Quattrochi ’04 and Jerry W. Chao ’05 finished fifth and sixth. On the women’s side, Sasha R. Manoosingh ’03 and Jane Lu ’05 (both sabre) finished second and third, epeeist Sarah E. Kolitz ’02 placed second, and foilist Lisa M. Bell ’04 placed fourth.