March 7, 2003

Nine Fencers Compete in NCAAs Regionals

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Nine members of the fencing team will travel to New York City on Sunday to take part in the NCAA Regional championships, the top performers of which will advance to the NCAA Finals later this month.

Unlike the regular season, the NCAA tournament is an individual competition, as each fencer competes against others in one of three weapons.

Much is expected of Red freshman Meghan Phair, who will be competing in her first NCAA tournament in the epee.

“We knew she was an outstanding prospect when she came here,” said coach Al Peters. “She fenced magnificently at [IFA’s] last week. She stands a good chance to go to the NCAA Finals.”

Phair compiled an 11-4 conference record, which was second only to Princeton’s Kira Hohense for the best record among Ivy epee fencers. Earlier this week, she was named first-team All-Ivy, the first Cornell fencer to be so honored since 1985.

Other top performers for the Red include senior Siobhan Cully, also in the epee. Cully narrowly missed qualifying for the NCAA Finals the last two years, a trend she will look to break on Sunday.

At sabre, junior Lily Nierenberg will lead the Red. Nierenberg had a record of 6-5 at IFA’s last week.

“If she caught fire, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to see her go to the finals,” said Peters.

Senior Tara Watkins represents the Red’s top hope in the foil competition.

Selections to the NCAA Finals are based on the combined results of the regular season and the Regional championship, with twice the weight given to Regionals.

“If you fence well [at Regionals,] it definitely can have a big impact on whether you go to the NCAA Finals,” said Peters.

Archived article by Owen Bochner