The record-breaking snowfall in New York City this past weekend threw a few wrenches in the Ivy League championships for fencing, preventing several competitors from reaching the round-robin tournament. The Cornell squad was able to make it to the tournament as planned, but was unable to follow through on its game plan to add more Ivy wins to its record, as it dropped matches against Penn, Columbia and Yale.
After hosting the first weekend of competition on its home turf in Newman Arena and recording its first league victory in 65 attempts by defeating Brown, the Red (8-9, 1-5 Ivy) was optimistic that it would be able to keep the successful streak alive as it headed to New York City.
“We’re always looking to get ore wins, that’s a given for any team,” said senior captain Meghan Phair. “The teams we fenced this weekend were so incredibly strong, we were just looking to do our best.”
Although the Red couldn’t score a team victory, the team did not return empty-handed. In the first match against Penn, sophomore Erica Waichman went a perfect 3-0 in epee to pace the Red. She counted for half of Cornell’s total victories against the Quakers, who pulled out a 21-6 team win. Penn nearly swept the Red in both sabre and foil, as the Red fell by an 8-1 mark in each event.
Epee proved to be the Red’s strongest weapon in its next match up, a face-off against perennial Ivy powerhouse Columbia. Phair, a two-time All-American, went undefeated against the Lions, matching Waichman’s earlier 3-0 showing. Sabre and foil continued to be the Red’s soft spots, however, as Columbia dominated these two weapons en route to a 22-5 victory.
“I was really excited about the bouts that we won,” Phair said. “All of the fencers we faced this weekend are really competitive, every bout could have gone either way.”
The Red saved its best for last, earning its most wins of the day in a 19-8 loss to Yale. Phair came up with a pair of wins for Cornell, while freshman Alex Heiss finished with a matching set of her own victories in sabre against the Bulldogs.
Although the Red emerged with a 0-3 record this past weekend, the match experience will help them prepare for the upcoming Intercollegiate Fencing Association championships and the NCAA Regional qualifiers.
“This weekend definitely exposed us to a lot of the competition that we’ll see at the IFAs and Regionals,” Phair said.
“It gave everybody a good look at [who we’ll face].”
This was the first year the league turned to a round-robin tournament format to decided the Ancient Eight crown, and while the Red emerged with a lopsided overall record, the team was able to take some positives from the competition.
The success of underclassmen and the win over Brown in the first round gave Phair a bright outlook on the future.
“It’s really exciting to see it,” Phair said.
“I know the girls are working really, really hard. I’d love to see what’s going to happen in the next two years even after I’m gone.”
But due to the inclement weather, the overall champion is remains undecided.
Archived article by Olivia Dwyer
Sun Assistant Sports Editor