After finishing 11th at a national open tournament last month, saberist Sada Jacobson ’04 was looking for a chance for redemption.
And she got it with a 15-14 victory over Amelia Gaillard in the Junior Olympics finals Monday that reasserted Jacobson’s prominent position in the national fencing circuit.
Jacobson posted a 12-0 record Monday in Salt Lake City to best a field of 76 fencers in the junior women’s saber. Since the tournament was individual, the first round consisted of “pools,” or groups of fencers who each fenced six five-touch bouts. The top fencers then advanced to a feed-in double elimination bracket where each fencer had to win two of three 15-touch bouts before reaching the quarterfinals.
Jacobson has not lost a collegiate dual meet bout this season while winning three national tournaments and placing in the top 10 in two more. Other than her slip in Greenville, S.C. where she finished 11th, the 2000-2001 season has been a tour de force for Jacobson, who is the women’s fencing team’s top saberist.
Such routine success at the collegiate level in basketball might motivate a player to leave his team early for the NBA. But for Jacobson, who is also one of four women on the national saber squad, the thrill is not yet gone.
“There’s always something new you can do with each bout,” Jacobson said. “Collegiate competition is a fun thing to do. I enjoy the Yale fencing team.”
Jacobson had to beat Gaillard, who was her old teammate at her club in Georgia, to advance to the final eight. Because of the feed-in double elimination format of the tournament, Jacobson faced Gaillard again in the final match.
Twenty-four touches into the gold medal match, Jacobson was down 14-10, but reverted to an old stratagem and battled back to take the gold medal.
“When you put on your mask, [your opponent] is just another fencer,” Jacobson said. “You have to get past the fact that they’re your teammate. It’s never fun to fence your teammate because you want to do well, and you want them to do well.”
The gold medal victory was not the most important part of the weekend for Jacobson, though.
“The best part of this weekend was feeling that I fenced well,” Jacobson said. “I was there to get some practice and try some new things. Junior Olympics is like any other event I go to. It might seem special because of the name, but its just another stop on the circuit.”
Jacobson and the rest of the fencers will return to team competition this weekend against rivals Princeton and Harvard, with the Ivy league title on the line. The Elis need to sweep the weekend to win the crown.