The fencing season culminates this weekend at Harvard for the Intercollegiate Fencing Association Championships. Being one of the oldest continually contested intercollegiate meets in the U.S., the IFAs have a long tradition of bringing together many of the most powerful fencing teams in the nation. Cornell has been competing in the annual event since 1896.
Thirteen other schools join the Red at the IFAs; among them are all the Ivy League teams, Rutgers, Boston College, St. John’s, MIT, Brandeis, NYU, and Vassar. The Red women have seen the entire field except for the Scarlet Knights, Johnnies and Violets. Unlike the Ivies, most of the participating schools offer scholarships.
Tomorrow the tournament begins, setting each fencer against every other fencer in her respective weapon and seeding. The team’s place is determined by the total amount of bouts that the team’s fencers win.
“The hard part is you fence every 45 minutes and you have to develop concentration for each bout,” head coach Al Peters explained.
This is a hard task considering each fencer will have to focus thirteen successive times during the all-day event.
On Sunday, the top one-fourth to one-third of the team will compete in the individual championships. Cornell’s best hope for the individual contests are the co-captains — senior Ellyn Rajfer and junior Patty Blumenauer — and sophomore Roopa Rangi.
Rajfer has been a mainstay for Cornell all year long. Her skills in the foil placed her second NIWFA Championships, but Peters said that the competition will be much stiffer this coming weekend. Bluemanauer and Rangi have also dominated in the epee events, ranked one and two respectively on the team. Junior Elinor Graznow is the best hope in the saber.
The Cornell squad (12-8, 0-5 Ivy) has seen its best season results in a while. After graduating many players and losing more to injuries, Peters faced many uncertainties coming into the season.
But the young team has exceeded all expectations, giving Cornell its first winning record for as long as Peters can remember.
The fencers hope to get into Harvard by seven tonight so that they can help set up for the tournament tomorrow.
From there the women will be competing individually in Regional Championships. All nine of the Cornell starters will attend the event in hopes of progressing to the National Championships.
Archived article by Amanda Angel