November 6, 2002

Fencers Debut at Temple Open

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Against very stiff competition, the young fencing team opened its season at the Temple Open, showing both great promise and potential. Two Cornell fencers left the event with medals, while the rest of the roster showed improvement over last season.

The Red enjoyed its best success in the epee competition, with senior Siobhan Cully and freshman Evelyn Scarborough claiming second and third place, respectively. In the final four, Scarborough dropped a tough 15-13 decision to the eventual winner, J. Goto of Penn. Meanwhile, Cully made her way to the final by winning her semifinal bout over Rebecca Kehoe of Rutgers.

In the finals, however, Cully met the same fate as her teammate, dropping a nailbiter, 15-14, to Goto. In a bout that saw multiple lead changes, Goto prevailed with a magnificent touch to clinch the gold.

Despite the loss, Cornell coach Al Peters was awed by the tense final.

“It was close to a work of art,” he said.

Freshman Meghan Phair, also competing in her first collegiate event, gave Cornell its third strong finisher in epee, placing 11th.

The Red, however, had less success in the other two weapons — foil and saber. A pair of freshmen led the way in the foil competition, with Rowan Kaplan finishing ninth and Erin Hohensee placing 11th. Two other Cornell fencers found their way into the top 32 — senior captain Tara Watkins (24th) and freshman Valerie DeRose (27th).

Meanwhile, junior Lily Nierenberg gave Cornell its best finish in the sabre with a 21st place result, while senior Eleanor Bartolomeo finished 25th.

Meredith Chin of Penn St. won the foil event while Alexis Jemal of Rutgers won the sabre.

With strong finishes for many of his fencers in the first event of the campaign, Peters has reason to be optimistic for the rest of his season.

“As coaches, we want the most, and we want the best. We could have won all three events, and I’d still find something wrong. But I’m very pelased,” said Peters. “We performed well as a team. And everyone that returned is better. It was certainly encouraging.”

Archived article by Alex Ip