The women’s and men’s fencing teams returned to competition this past weekend in promising form, with captain Lauren Miller ’15 leading her squad to victories against five schools and captain Hugh O’Cinneide ’15 leading his to three at the Vassar Fencing Challenge.
“Because Sunday was the first meet of the semester, the entire team was especially excited to be there and to perform,” Miller said. “[The] constant support from all team members and our coaches helped us to maintain our focus and win every round. We’re all proud of how successful the day was.”
The women’s team was particularly dominant in the sabre competition, winning all of its matchups. The Bulldogs bested both Cleveland State and Detroit Mercy, sweeping Cleveland State in the épée competition 9–0. The squad also managed to sweep the sabre event against Detroit Mercy and dominate the Titans in épée as well with an 8–1 victory.
For Alicia Borja Alvarez ’17, Sunday’s competition represented her first taste of collegiate fencing. After attending her very first practice on Thursday, Borja Alvarez played an integral role in sweeping Cleveland State in the épée competition.
“To be honest, I got to the tournament knowing nothing about the structure of college fencing competitions,” Borja Alvarez said. “It was really fun. The team is just amazing. From the minute I stepped into the locker room, they have all been incredibly welcoming, supportive and fun.”
Meanwhile, the men’s squad scored victories against Vassar, Cleveland State and Detroit Mercy. The Bulldogs handled their opponents especially well in the foil competition, with 8–1 wins against three different teams, and the sabre competition, where the squad was undefeated in its four matchups.
O’Cinneide, who led the sabre team in its sweep on Sunday, noted that the competition provided a good way for the team to gauge its progress part way through the season. The captain also noted that the sabre squad did well in combating its recent injuries.
“Although we were battling with injuries, we had a strong showing from all members of the sabre squad,” O’Cinneide said. “Alan Zhang ’16 and Ed Kong ’16 rose to the occasion and both posted great wins.”
Head coach Harry Harutunian remarked that while the women’s team excelled in all aspects of the competition at Vassar, the men’s squad struggled in terms of the épée competition, especially in its bouts against Vassar and the New Jersey Institute of Technology. The épée team has sustained significant injuries, yet Harutunian noted that he was pleased with the way the squad has been progressing in practice.
One of the toughest competitions thus far for the Bulldogs comes this Sunday when they take on scholarship teams including Notre Dame, Ohio State, Wayne State and Northwestern at the New York University Invitational. According to Harutunian, this upcoming weekend represents a chance to see what kind of shape the teams are truly in.
“We have a big test at NYU. We will be meeting the toughest schools in the country and the fencers will be working on raising their level to the highest capacity,” Harutunian said. “After NYU, we will know if we are ready to take on the big boys.”
The competition begins this Sunday in New York at 8 a.m.
Correction, Jan. 26: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the women’s team won two matches. In fact, the team won against all five schools — Cleveland State, Vassar, Tufts, NJIT and Detroit-Mercy — it faced that day.