November 4, 2003

Phair Wins Cornell's First Epee Championship

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This past weekend, the fencing team competed in the largest and strongest fields the Temple Open has seen in recent years. The team came away with the best results of the past 10 years.

Meghan Phair, a 2003 All-America selection, won the gold medal in the women’s epee competition. She came out on top in a competition that included two rounds of pool play and then a direct-elimination tournament. She beat Junior National Champion Case Szarwark of Penn State to win the gold medal.

“As near as I can tell, it is our first [Temple Open champion] ever,” said head coach Al Peters.

Phair was the only member of the Red to medal at the tournament, but there were many other successful performances.

The Red foil fencers faced a field of 70 competitors. Despite a strong start in the pool play, they could not break into the final round of 16 in the elimination rounds. In this category, the Red’s best finish came from freshman Shannon Flatley, who ended the weekend at 34th place.

The saber fencers were more successful, with two members of the touted freshman class leading the way. Freshmen Elise Pasoreck and Ivana Zgaljic both broke into the top 16 in their collegiate debut. Zgaljic lost a match in the final eight to the eventual silver medallist. Zgaljic’s sixth place finish was the second highest finish for Cornell. Pasoreck ended the weekend with a 13th place finish. Senior Lily Nierenberg also finished well for the Red, coming in at 25th place. There were 66 women competing in the saber category.

Phair was not the only one to find success in the epee category. Three of the Red’s fencers just missed qualifying for the round of 16. Freshman Alexa Rose advanced to the round of 16, but then suffered a narrow loss in a tightly contested bout against Katherine Cook of Penn State. Despite the loss, Rose finished in the top 10. Phair beat Cook by a score of 15-3 in the round of eight and Stephanie Sargent of Temple University, also by a score of 15-3, to reach the title match.

“I was very pleased with individual performances,” said Peters. “I was also pleased with how they worked together as a team and dealt with adversity. The way they dealt with losses was very impressive.”

The Red now head into a three-week break before facing Harvard on Nov. 23 here at Cornell in the Stifel Fencing Salle. The team will continue to work on mental and physical strength and tactical skills in preparation for its next competition.


Archived article by Olivia Dwyer