By SYDNEY ALTSCHULER
The Cornell fencing team sent 10 individuals to compete at the NCAA Northeastern Regional Championships on Sunday, March 9, at Wellesley College in Wellesley, MA. Of the 10 fencers representing the Red this year, five were seasoned veterans. Seniors Christine McIntosh and April Whitney both competed for their fourth and final time, junior Olivia Weller participated for her third time and sophomores Angelica Gangemi and Alaina Uhouse joined for the second year in a row.
Cornell posted solid individual performances last year, with Gangemi taking sixth place in foil to lead the Red and McIntosh clinching another Top-Ten finish at eighth in the same event. However, this time around the squad looked to see strong results across the board. The Red followed through with this goal, posting four Top-Ten placements to improve upon last year’s outcome.
Freshman Victoria Wines put in a stellar performance, finishing in second place among 49 epee fencers to take home the silver medal and earn a spot in the NCAA Championships.
She was forced to push her mental and physical strength to the limit, fencing in upwards of twenty high intensity bouts throughout the day-long tournament. According to Wines, the long hours of training she put in to prepare for the NCAA’s made victory that much sweeter.
“Regionals was a very physically demanding tournament because I had to fence 23 bouts in one day. … I’ve been working very hard lately in anticipation of yesterday and I’m really glad my hard work paid off,” she said.
Gangemi echoed these sentiments, stating that Regionals requires discipline and perseverance from its contenders.
“One of the biggest challenges of the day is staying focused. You have to fence many intense bouts in a row to advance to the next round, which is not only physically exhausting but mentally draining,” Gangemi said. “So in addition to technique and strategy, half the battle of Regionals is remaining confident and mentally tough.”
Moreover, Gangemi, Whitney and McIntosh all placed in the top twelve as well, finishing in ninth, eleventh, and twelfth, respectively. Gangemi’s ninth place finish gave her a bid to the NCAA championships as well.
Gangemi said that while she looks forward to taking her talents to the championships, she will miss the camaraderie and team support she is accustomed to in the regular season.
“It’s going to be hard to head to the championships without [some of] my teammates. What I love about college fencing is the team aspect of competition, but I’m excited to represent Cornell and I’m looking forward to a really challenging tournament,” she said.
Regionals draws the top fencing talent in Divisions one, two and three from the Northeast Region, testing the best of athletes. Gangemi and Wines faced and conquered many fierce competitors to rise to the top, and the entire squad is especially proud of them for qualifying for the NCAA’s, according to Whitney.
“The level [of play] at the NCAA regionals this year was very high, and first and foremost we are so proud of [our] teammates Angelica Gangemi and Vicki for qualifying for the NCAAs,” she said.
The NCAA Championship will commence on Thursday, March 20 at French Field House in Columbus, OH and continue through Sunday.