This past Sunday, the Cornell women’s fencing team (16-8) travelled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to compete in their last competition of the dual meet season. The Red fought hard against five foes over the course of the day, defeating UNC (16-11), NJIT (20-7) and Johns Hopkins (21-6) but dropping matches to Duke (14-13) and Temple (15-12).
The results of the invitational were reflective of a Red fencing program that has developed admirably over the course of the season on their way to a 16-8 record.
“It is great to know the team is growing with more experience gained and [the] results reflect everyone’s overall effort this season,” said head coach Iryna Dolgikh.
“The highlights were brought to us by the solid performances from our team MVP fencers on the foil squad – Angelica [Gangemi] and Ediona [Sera],” Dolgikh said.
Both fencers, seniors on the Red’s foil squad, drove the team’s top results, posting double digit victories on the day.
“Congratulations are also due to Gabby Zusin ’18 in foil, Emma Wilkinson ’19 in epee, Zoee D’Costa ’19 and Katherine Kudryashov ’19 in saber, who fought to add to the overall winning record and qualify to the NCAA Regional.”
One of the notable matchups of the weekend for the team was against No. 10 Temple University.
“For me fencing Temple was the highlight of the weekend,” said senior Ediona Sera. “Temple is known for being a powerhouse and our team really gave them a run for it. We fought for every single touch and it was a close fight.”
The Philadelphia Invitational was the last meet of the regular season for the Red and last dual meet; only competitors who qualified for NCAA Regionals will be continuing to fence going forward. Senior captain Angelica Gangemi noted how this helped the the Red compete with extra vigor in Philadelphia.
“One of my favorite parts about this weekend was taking a step back and observing the girls interact with one another,” she said. “This Invitational marked my last dual meet as a Cornell fencer and when I took a look around, I saw my teammates supporting one another, offering advice, and celebrating together when somebody won their bout.”
“Although fencing is an individual sport,” she continued, “you can’t succeed without teammates who push you to train your best. It was a proud moment as a captain and a senior to see the girls come together as one unit.”
Gangemi is confident that this strong team dynamic will lead to the team’s success moving forward into the postseason.
All that is left for the Red’s fencers now is postseason competition. The NCAA Northeast Regional meet is on March 13th, so the qualifying fencers only have a few weeks to train.
“It’s about focus and support now,” Sera said. “We ended our team season on a great note but we still have athletes competing so it’s all about being there for each other and working together. It’s not over until we’re all done and we have the potential to do really well.”
Fencers that perform well at regionals will prolong their season further and compete in the NCAA Championship on March 24th. Sera, junior Victoria Wines and Gangemi all qualified for this prestigious tournament last year. With all three of these fencers competing in regionals this year, the Red hope to send even more this year.