March 5, 2004

Fencing Competes for NCAA Position

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Seven athletes from the fencing team will travel to Columbia this Sunday to compete in the NCAA Regionals. The top finishers in each category will qualify for the NCAA championships at Brandeis on March 25-28.

The Red athletes qualify for regionals based on a power rating that is calculated by combining an individual’s strength of schedule and record. Each category of the competition is seeded according to this power rating. Athletes will advance to the championships based on their seeds and their performances at regionals.

Senior captain Erica Wilhelm, sophomore Meghan Phair, and freshman Alexa Rose will represent the Red in the epee category. Senior captain Lily Nierenberg, freshman Ivana Zgaljic, and freshman Elise Pasoreck will compete in the saber. Senior captain Valerie DeRose will be the only competitor in the foil for the Red.

“I want everyone to be relaxed,” said head coach Al Peters. “They need to be at their best mentally and physically.”

Each category will have a field of more than thirty fencers. Usually the top seven or eight in each category will go on to compete in the finals. Only 24 athletes compete in each category at the NCAAs.

The Northeast Region is the strongest in the country, and the Red will face tough competition this weekend. Penn State, who is currently No. 1 in the country, will be the tournament favorite. All of the Ivy League schools will also be represented at Columbia this weekend.

“I’ll tell them two things before the bouts on Sunday,” said Peters. “One, remember all your strengths and maximize your use of them. Two, every bout is unique. Don’t think of past bouts.”

Last year, the Red sent seven fencers to regionals, but only Phair qualified to go to the NCAAs.

Archived article by Olivia Dwyer