After amassing three quick wins in the first three matches of its season, the Cornell fencing team hosted Yale December 3. The Ivy League dominant Elis had always posed a problem for the Red in the past.
The young and somewhat inexperienced team–eight out of eighteen members are freshman, three of which began fencing last fall–put up a staunch effort against Yale, despite being severe underdogs. Yale won overall 18-9.
But not all was lost for the Red. The women garnered their first weapons win in the epee, 5-4. Senior captain Patty Blumenauer led the effort with a 3-0 showing.
The foil and saber were not as promising as Yale took both events 7-2. Senior Ellyn Rajfer went 2-1 in the foil. Senior Kata Mihaly and junior Elinor Grazow were able to win one bout each against the stingy Yale saber team.
“Yale is one of the hardest teams in the Ivies,” Rajfer said. “We did extremely well against them. Even the Yale coach congratulated us.”
After the match, the fencers left the East Hill to travel to the National Intercollegiate Women’s Fencing Association Championships at Dickinson University in Teaneck, N.J. The women would compete individually in one of the oldest and esteemed organizations in collegiate sports along with fencers from 17 other schools.
Cornell had admirable showings in all events. Blumenauer placed fifth in the epee, and freshman Lily Nierenberg was the highest placer in the saber in eighth place. But is was in the foil where the Red would have its best showing.
Having finished fourth, second and third in her freshman, sophomore and junior years respectively, Rajfer landed second place. She was followed by freshman Tara Hatami in fourth place, who only missed out on third by a matter of touches.
“Tara fenced better than I had ever seen her fence,” Rajfer emoted. “She was beating people left and right.”
The success of the underclassmen might be fantastic to skeptics, but head coach Al Peters was confident of his fencers abilities:
“I’ve seen them in practices so I’m not surprised at all,’ he said. “But I’m certainly very pleased [with their performances].”
The team has had ample time to practice since they arrived back in Ithaca on January 9. The next match comes on February 3 at Wellesley. Until then it will be polishing its sword wielding skills.
“We’re a little antsy,” Rajfer expressed. “We’re ready to get out there and compete.”
Archived article by Amanda Angel