Tejas Srinivas ’07 and Eugenia Poland ’08 led the Bulldogs in an unexpected way this past weekend. The women’s fencers went into their most recent competition without a full squad and without a full lineup of starters. So, faced with adversity, the two epee athletes decided to step up and compete out of their trained weapon. These acts, along with positive attitudes, earned the girls the respect of their teammates along with a few wins in the foil.

“Overall, I think it was a good experience,” Srinivas said. “It’s always fun to try a different weapon.”

Yale, along with eleven other teams from the Northeast, set Philadelphia, Penn. alight with shining silver in the faceoff for the Intercollegiate Fencing Association Championships, college fencing’s oldest event. Saturday marked the start of the 109th tournament of the historic competition.

As a combined group, the Yale men (4-11. 0-4) and the women (12-6, 2-3) finished seventh with 77 points. Though they fell to both Harvard (11-0, 5-0 men; 12-1, 6-0 women) and Princeton (7-2, 2-1 men; 5-4, 1-3 women), they came out on top of Cornell (8-9, 1-5 women) and Brown (4-8, 1-7 men; 4-9, 2-7 women).

The women’s team boasted three fencers within the top 16 finishers of the competition. These results were balanced because each squad put forth a successful athlete. Captain Isadora Botwinick ’06 in the epee category, Erin Frey ’08 in the saber category, and Diana Schawlowski ’08 in the foil category each performed at a high level in Philadelphia. Frey took 11th, Botwinick took 6th, and Schawlowski took 5th for their respective squads.

Frey was nominated for the Georges L. Cointe Award, as well. Though she did not win, the nomination acknowledged her peers’ faith in her sportsmanship, leadership, and fencing skills.

Overall, the women placed 10th with 38 points short of both Harvard and Princeton but still ahead of MIT.

“I was proud of the team for all the effort and heart they put into fencing,” Frey said.

On the men’s side, the Bulldogs fought well, bringing four fencers into the top sixteen finishing slots. Cory Werk ’06 and Michael Aboodi ’07 shared the glory for the foil squad, and John Beski ’07 and Michael Pearce ’09 brought home high individual rankings in the epee category.

Werk took 10th place while Aboodi seized 13th in the individual foil competition while Pearce and Beski took 9th and 13th, respectively, in the individual epee competition.

The epee squad also earned a third place finish, bringing team success to the Elis. Though they finished after the Crimson and the Tigers, team members said they were still proud of the result.

“I was quite pleased with how we did,” Beski said. “We did better than I expected in relation to Harvard.”

As a whole, the men placed seventh with 39 points. They still did not manage to top the Cantabs and the Tigers, but finished just above the Bears.

The Bulldogs will next sharpen their swords for the NCAA Regional competition on March 5th.

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