November 17, 2000

Fencers Hope to Gaim Duel Experience

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En Garde Cornellians! Women’s fencing is back — and it is back with a vengeance. After placing 24th at last year’s season ending NCAA championships, Big Red fencing looks to thrust and parry its way through another grueling season of intense competition.

Head coach Albert Peters returns for a fourth consecutive season, and his sights are set on championship glory once again.

“We had a very good season last year. In fact it was probably the best season that we’ve had in nine or 10 years,” Peters enthused.

The team managed to compile an 8-8 overall record but suffered five losses out of five duels in Ivy League competition. Even though the team achieved a mixed bag of results, it was able to exhibit it class and skill during critical periods of the season.

In addition to several credible regular season victories, the team was able to turn up the heat during the NCAA Regional championships, while also recording a solid eighth-place finish at the IFCA (Intercollegiate Fencing Association) championships. As a result of its local successes, it was able to reap national rewards.

“We performed well during the Regionals and the Intercollegiate Fencing Association Championships. Because of this we were able to send Cornell representatives to the NCAA championships,” Peters added.

Senior captain Ellyn Rajfer placed 19th in last year’s regional championships and leads a young squad into what should be another exciting season. Rajfer returns as a key member of the foil team — she led the team last year with a 30-31 record.

“Some key students have graduated and others have been injured, leaving us short of experience,” Peters explained. “We’ve got an abundance of talent and spirit, but what we really lack is experience.”

The team will no doubt look to its nucleus of returning students for experience. Returning talent include junior Elinor Granzow, who led the Red’s saber squad with a 33-23 record and junior Patricia Blumenauer, who led the epee list with a 31-26 record including an eighth-place finish at the North-East regionals.

A fortnight ago the Red kicked off 2000-2001 with an encouraging run in the Temple Open held in Philadelphia, PA. Rajfer finished an impressive third in the foil competition to pace the Red. Stirring performances were also delivered by Bluemenauer, who finished eighth in the epee competition, while teammate Erica Gale finished 15th. Rachel Lee was 14th in the foil and Tara Hatami was 16th in the same event. Granzow took 18th place and Kata Mihaly rounded out the Cornell standings, finishing in 22nd place.

“We got some good results at the Temple competition. It was a nice warm up to the season. Everyone, particularly Ellyn and Patricia, worked hard for the results.” Peters said.

Cornell’s hopes of progressing to this season’s championships are further galvanized by the emergence of several new freshman faces. Peters believes that the recruited talent will enjoy the experience of college fencing.

“We’ve got a nice set of recruits this year. However, it’s going to take a while for [the newcomers] to adjust to the college game,” Peters stated.

Everyone in the squad will be eager to peak in time for the IFCA championships and North-East Regional championships, held in March. These events will give the team ample opportunity to re-appear at the 2001 NCAA championships. The squad hopes that these events will give it enough match callousness to once again push Cornell into NCAA championship reckoning.

“The competition will be tough, but we’ll be giving it a 100% and at the end of the day that’s all I can ask of my team,” he said.

Cornell returns to action this weekend when it plays host to Sacred Heart, Cleveland State and Case Western Reserve Stifel Fencing Salle.

Archived article by Kris Rajan