As the national fencing championships draw nearer, the pressure is mounting and the competition is becoming fierce on the strip. The NCAA regional qualifying competition in New Haven, Conn. last weekend had two athletes finish in good position to earn a bid to the national championships.
The Red sent seven fencers to the qualifiers, including four athletes making their first appearances at the meet. Competitors are invited to the event based on the strength of their individual records from dual meets throughout the season.
In foil, the Red was represented by sophomores Shannon Flatley and Beth Rubin. Sophomores Ivana Zgaljic and Elise Pasoreck each earned their second consecutive appearance in sabre, as both improved on last year’s results. Two-time All-American junior Meghan Phair and classmate Karen Klima fenced in the epee category, along with freshman Erica Waichman.
“We’re pleased and happy about [the team performance],” said head coach Al Peters. “Regionals are a tough field. I would have liked more improvement, but we had good individual results.”
The Red faced three rounds of pool competition to earn one of ten spots in the final round. Flatley and Rubin finished 27th and 34th, respectively, bowing out of the foil battle early on. Waichman earned a 21st-place finish in her debut, while Klima came in at 31st. Pasoreck advanced to the semi-final round before settling for a 14th-place showing, an improvement from her 19th-place finish a year ago.
“I was very pleased with Elise’s performance,” Peters said. “It was much better than last year. Maybe next year she can make it to the big show.”
Zgaljic earned her ticket to the big show with a seventh-place finish in the final round. The sophomore also competed in the national championships last year, where she finished 17th. “It was very satisfying,” Peters said. “It was a much more difficult field than last year.”
Satisfaction was elusive for Phair, who was unable to repeat her first-place finish in the 2004 regional competition. The Cornell stand-out advanced to the final round, but found herself in ninth place and without an invitation to the national tournament at the end of the weekend.
“Meghan is so good and so excellent that it is easy to take her for granted,” Peters said. “She was capable of beating anyone there. Fencing is so tough — one touch one way or the other can make the difference. She’s been a little off her game lately.”
There is still a chance that Phair could make it to the final competition. The fencers that will represent the Mid-Atlantic/South region on the national level will be announced today. Although Regional performances can decide who is awarded a bid, wild card selections can be made based on an individual’s performance over the entire season.
“Because she’s had a good season, she still has an outside shot,” Peters said. “She has the ability to fence at that level.”
Archived article by Olivia Dwyer
Sun Assistant Sports Editor