With one week before H-Y-Ps, three of the fencing team’s freshmen phenoms took a weekend off to test their individual abilities at the Junior Olympics in Salt Lake City and returned with mixed results.
Saberist Sada Jacobson ’04 and foil squad members Zane Selkirk ’04 and Peter Cellini ’04 each competed in the under-20 division of their respective weapons at a Junior Olympics meet that drew over 100 competitors for each event. While Jacobson competed last night, Cellini, who was seeded No. 4 at the tourney’s outset, finished 20th out of a field of 168 after he lost 15-7 in direct elimination, and then 15-6 in the losers’ bracket. Selkirk ended the tournament in 10th place after falling in the quarterfinals.
Since the tournament was an individual meet and not a collegiate dual meet, each competitor fenced six five-touch bouts in a round robin format or “pools.” The fencers with the best records then advanced to a double elimination bracket with 15-touch bouts each round.
When Selkirk first arrived in Salt Lake for the weekend, a top 10 finish was not on her mind.
“I was not expecting to do that well because I haven’t been working as hard as I did in the past,” Selkirk said. “But I know I could have done better.”
While Cellini was seeded fourth entering pools, his ranking dropped 18 places to 22nd after pools. Each loss came at the hands of fencers to whom Cellini had previously lost.
But after starring in the freshman show in the weeks leading up to the tournament, Cellini was not surprised with the result.
“I didn’t fence particularly poorly,” Cellini said. “The people I lost to were just in better shape.”
But Cellini did not leave the fencing trip before posting a win in the main draw over the eventual champion Gabe Sinkin, who is a senior in high school and attended the same fencing academy in Rochester as Cellini.
After a season of fencing five-touch bouts in rotation at collegiate dual meets, the tournament format also made it difficult for Cellini to capitalize on his early round success.
“It was a different tournament,” Cellini said. “It was a tough change.”
Now all eyes are on the upcoming weekend and H-Y-Ps, where the women’s fencing squad could capture the Ivy championship with wins over Harvard and Princeton.
“[The men’s and women’s teams] definitely have a good shot this weekend,” Selkirk said. “From what I’ve been seeing through numerous e-mails, everyone is real determined to succeed. We can beat both of them.”
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