March 3, 2009

Fatigued Fencing Team Places 8th at IFA Championships

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This past weekend, the fencing team competed in a combination team and individual tournaments at the IFA Championship. The Red first faced off as a team against 11 other squads, including the other Ivy teams, before the best players from those matches faced off in an individual tournament.
“It was a really long day,” said freshman Rebecca Hirschfeld. “It was the most bouts I’ve probably ever fenced in a competition in a day.”
The women finished with a 45-53 record, placing them in eighth place amongst the women’s teams, but 12th overall since there is no varsity men’s team. Four women made it into the individual tournament, with Hirschfeld receiving a bronze medal, and team and co-epee captain junior Katherine Thompson coming in eighth. Cornell scored 344 touches and received 374 from its opponents.[img_assist|nid=35719|title=One foot forward|desc=Freshman Rebecca Hirschfeld, a foil specialist, earns a bronze medal in the individual portion of the IFA contest.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
The epee squad performed best, coming in second place with a 23-10 record. Thompson and junior Sallie Dietrich earned spots in the individual tournament, and junior epee co-captain Tasha Hall came close.
“I was very surprised [to place eighth] because I subbed in for Tasha halfway through so we would not be worn out for NCAA Regionals,” Hall said, “and I didn’t expect to make it. We came in next to each other in the results. It was just luck — she also fenced very well.”
The foil squad came in seventh with a 15-17 record, and sent Hirschfeld and junior co-foil captain Dana Baines to the individual tournament. Hirschfeld placed third and Baines placed fifteenth individually.
“Obviously I was exhausted,” Hirschfeld said, “but I kept going to the very end. I’m happy about my stamina. I was pretty focused and able to analyze opponent, and my teammates also fenced really well.”
Of her win, Hirschfeld said, “I’m so happy — it’s great, I didn’t expect it. After I knew I was in the top eight, I really pushed myself. It’s great to represent my school since it’s my first year here, and I think I represented it as well as I could.”
The saber squad placed eleventh in the tournament, and did not send any fencers to the individual round.
This tournament did not give players points towards the NCAA Regionals that will be held at MIT this weekend. Instead, it was for “reputation and experience,” according to Thompson. Nevertheless, she was extremely proud of the team’s performance.
“We did amazingly,” she said. “We fenced very well all day.”