January 31, 2003

Fencers Look to Improve Mark

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Improvement — that is what Cornell head coach Al Peters is looking for when the women’s varsity fencing team takes to the road this weekend for matches against Harvard, Boston College, MIT, Brandeis, and Brown. A 3-1 record so far this season has set the team up for success. The team’s only match tomorrow, against Harvard, looks to be the biggest competition of the team’s swing through the Boston area.

In collegiate fencing, the team is divided into three divisions — epee, foil, and saber. Nine matches are fenced with each weapon, with any single fencer allowed to participate in a maximum of three bouts. Cornell’s strength early this season has been in epee and foil, with freshman Meghan Phair and captain Tara Watkins going a combined 12-0, as the Red defeated its last two opponents, Drew and Vassar.

“The real focus is on Harvard,” said Watkins. “We definitely have the skill and ability to win.”

As a senior, Watkins has faced two out of the three fencers in her weapon of choice, the foil.

Peters acknowledged that the Crimson has been traditionally the strongest in the past, and will once again put forth a very accomplished group of fencers. To win tomorrow, Peters says that the team will have to step it up a notch and “play with fire” to win.

Both captain and coach stressed the team as a group, saying that there is a strong sense of camaraderie, even among the newest members of the team. Peters also noted that the team will need to rely on their solid knowledge of the fundamentals on Sunday.

Four matches in one day will put quite a strain, both physically and mentally, on the performance of the team. This weekend, Peters is looking for competition and the chance to win. The most important goal, however, is for the team to grow — win or lose, Peters expects it to go far.

Archived article by S.W. Falk