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Men...s Fencing Team Narrowly Defeats Top-Ranked St. John...s

By Suki Dorfman

For the second time in four years, the MIT men’s fencing team took down St. John’s University this Sunday at Brandeis, 14-13.

Always ranked in the top five programs nationally, and last year third in the NCAA, the St. John’s team is packed with internationally recruited athletes.

The Engineers and the Red Storm were tied at 13-13 when freshman foilist Benjamin T. Switala ’09 began the final bout. Under the pressure from every member of both teams watching his bout, Switala scored a resounding 5-1 victory to win the match for MIT, 14-13. Switala’s bout also concluded a 9-0 men’s foil sweep of the St. John’s squad, with MIT squad leader Jason Chen ’07 and Spencer R. Sugimoto ’08 both undefeated as well.

In addition to spearheading the historic win against St. John’s, men’s foil was the top performing squad for MIT on Sunday. Chen, Sugimoto, and Switala won against all four foil squads they fenced and suffered only eight bouts lost all day. Sugimoto led the men’s team in total victories Sunday with an 11-1 record. Chen trailed barely behind at 10-2.

Men’s sabre and epee were both challenged on Sunday, winning against Vassar and Boston College and losing to the Yale and St. John’s squads. Captain and sabre squad leader William T. Walsh ’06, epee squad leader Michael N. Beregovsky ’06 and epeeist Trevor T. Chang ’07 all finished the day with 7-5 records. The sabre squad of Walsh, Brian J. Quattrochi ’06, and Igor Kopylov ’09 barely won more bouts than they lost as a result of the tough competition from Yale and St. John’s.

In total, the men’s team record was 3-1, with the only loss a 13-14 heartbreaker against Yale. The men’s team begins the holiday break at 7-1 for the season.

Women’s epee still unstoppable

The top performing women’s squad at Brown was also the best at Brandeis: women’s epee. Mika A. Tomczak ’06 led the team as well as the squad, losing only one bout to earn a 9-1 record. With Joanna W. Tong ’08 (8-3), women’s captain and epee squad leader Lele Yu ’06 (8-4), and Lauren W. Leung ’07 (1-2), the epee record was 26-10.

Like the men’s foilists, the women’s epeeists beat every other squad they faced. The epee wins against Yale (7-2) and St. John’s (5-4) were bright spots against the women’s team’s losses to those schools.

Shauna Jin ’06 achieved the strongest record for women’s sabre, winning 8 and losing 4. Although the women’s sabre squad lost to Yale, they were excited to have had the experience of fencing Yale’s Sada Jacobson, U.S. 2004 Olympic bronze medalist.

Nancy Hua ’07 was first in the women’s foil squad with a 7-5 record, snatching the squad’s only victory against Yale.

The MIT women’s 2-2 finish Sunday puts the team at 7-2 thus far.

Stay tuned for the MIT fencing teams’ next match on Jan. 28, against Brown, Brandeis, and Boston College.