While much of the country has been caught up in the NCAA men’s basketball finals, other winter sports, including fencing, have also been ending their seasons this month. Last weekend, four fencers traveled to State College, Penn., to fence in the 2009 NCAA Fencing Championship, where the team finished 19th out of 24 teams. Sophomore foil co-captain Jessica Tranquada came in 20th out of the 24 foilists, senior co-saber captain Alex Heiss placed 20th among the 24 saberists, and of the 25 epeeists, junior epee co-captain Tasha Hall came in 19th and junior Sallie Dietrich came in 24th.[img_assist|nid=36230|title=Lay down your weapon|desc=Cornell sent four fencers to the NCAA Fencing Championship last weekend in State College, Penn.
Yesterday members of the fencing team traveled to MIT for the NCAA Northeast Regional Championships, where three fencers — coincidentally, one from each squad — qualified for the Finals that will be held at Penn State during the second weekend of Spring Break.
“It was really tough,” said junior epee co-captain Tasha Hall, who qualified on the epee squad. “[Junior Sallie Dietrich] and I both made it to the final 12, and it was pretty intimidating. There were foreign [fencers] there who are really good and some of the top people from Nationals.”
Fencers Travel to MIT For NCAA Regional Championships
This weekend some of the fencers will head to MIT for the NCAA Northeast Regional Championships, where each squad will face off against about 40 other women from 19 schools. 10 fencers from each weapon will make it to the NCAA Championships held at Penn State on March 19-22; each school can send a maximum of two members per weapon.
Team and co-epee captain junior Katherine Thompson, junior Sallie Dietrich and junior epee co-captain Tasha Hall will represent the Red’s epee squad. All three qualified for the Championships last year, but Thompson could not attend since she would have been the team’s third delegate.
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.”
This weekend, the fencing team is hoping to improve over last weekend’s losses as it heads to Brandeis for the IFA Championships. The fencers will face off both as a team and individually against 12 teams including the Ancient Eight, Brandeis, Boston College, MIT, Vassar and NYU. [img_assist|nid=35585|title=Foiled again!|desc=Freshman Rebecca Hirschfeld crosses blades with a Yeshiva University opponent on Nov. 23 at the Andrew P. Stifel Fencing Salle.|link=node|align=right|width=|height=0]
“Last year, we placed fourth and many of us also placed well individually,” said senior co-saber captain Alex Heiss, adding that the team hopes to do just as well this year.
The women’s tennis team looks to rebound this weekend when it faces Binghamton University and the University of Buffalo in a back-to-back home set. Cornell suffered a disappointing loss to Harvard on Sunday, falling short, 1-6, in its final match of the ECAC Women’s Tennis Team Championships.
In the Red’s (3-2, 0-0 Ivy) loss, sophomore Leah Seyburn at the No. 6 spot put forth an impressive outing, posting a 1-6, 6-2, 10-8 comeback. Senior captain Shayna Miller and senior Elizabeth Googe at the No. 2 spot also picked up Cornell’s only doubles win. The Red looks to build on these wins as it faces two tough teams with upcoming talent.
Last Friday, freshman fencer Rebecca Hirschfeld traveled to Albuquerque, N.M. to participate in the Junior Olympics. She finished 29th out of the 152 women foilists, which Hirschfeld said was “exactly what I hoped to get.”
By finishing in the top 32, Hirschfeld earned national points, which automatically qualify her for the fencing summer nationals. For her, the qualification is “one less thing to worry about.”
The fencers who accumulate the highest number of national points qualify to fence in the Olympics or represent the U.S. in other international competitions.
“I didn’t just fence well in terms of results, but my actual fencing improved since I last fenced in a national competition,” said Hirschfeld.
The fencing team (7-7, 1-2) kicked off Ancient Eight play this weekend during the first half of the Ivy League Championship at Columbia. The women finished 1-2, beating Brown, 17-10, but losing to fifth-ranked Harvard, 6-21, and seventh-ranked Princeton, 11-16.
“The Ivy championship is the [hardest] tournament for us because there are many national, world and Olympic team members there,” said head coach Iryna Dolgikh.
Despite losses to the Tigers and the Bruins, Dolgikh said, “It’s ok, we’re getting stronger. It was a great experience.”[img_assist|nid=34912|title=Take a stab at it|desc=The fencing team went 1-2 in its first half of the Ivy League Championship, defeating Brown but falling to Harvard and Princeton.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Coming off an impressive showing at the Princeton Duels two weeks ago, the fencing team is heading to Columbia this weekend. Sunday will mark the beginning of the team’s Ivy play as the women will face Brown, Princeton and Harvard, before facing the rest of the Ivy fencing teams later this month.
The fencing team kicked off the spring semester on a high note, winning four of its five matches this Sunday at the Princeton Duels. The team beat Drew, North Carolina, Haverford and Duke, before losing to Temple at the end of the day.
Head coach Iryna Dolgikh attributed the team’s success to its “excellent organization, improving spirit and experience from last year. We competed against word-level fencers last year, so now we started the year stronger and more confident. We won many matches at Princeton 5-4. Even if the other team was stronger, my team fought.”
She added that the team has benefited from the return of two epeeists, seniors Sallie Dietrich and Tasha Hall, who were both abroad last semester. The epee squad as a whole was undefeated at Princeton.