The Yale men’s and women’s fencing teams concluded their seasons this past weekend with a 17th-place finish at the NCAA Championships at Brandeis University.
Four Bulldogs represented the team in Massachusetts, combining to win 28 out of 92 bouts over the two days of competition. Three of the four competitors were freshmen, demonstrating the potential of Yale’s two programs heading into next season.
“The team worked incredibly hard this season,” said women’s captain Joanna Lew ’17, the fourth Yale fencer to compete. “It was a pleasure seeing the freshmen come into their own as college fencers [this weekend].”
The winningest Yalie of the weekend, Lew won nine bouts in the women’s saber event, finishing 20th overall out of 24 in her weapon. Five of Lew’s victories, including a 5–4 win over Columbia’s Lena Johnson and a 5–3 besting of Penn’s Arabella Uhry, came against eventual top-10 finishers in the event.
Lew’s teammate, Jenny Zhao ’19, finished 21st in the women’s foil event, winning five bouts. Despite playing the weekend on an injured ankle, Zhao was able to defeat Notre Dame’s Nicole McKee, who finished 10th in the event, by a score of 5–0.
“NCAA Championships was definitely a great opportunity to compete against the top collegiate fencers in the United States,” Zhao said. “I am looking towards training even more to qualify next year.”
The Eli men, who posted their first winning season since 2012 this year, also sent a pair of fencers up north for the competition, with newcomers Walter Musgrave ’19 and Skyler Chin ’19 representing the Bulldogs.
Musgrave won seven bouts in the men’s saber event, finishing 21st overall. The Escondido, California native earned two victories over Ivy League opponents, and one 5–3 win over fifth-place finisher Fares Arfa of Ohio State.
Chin finished 21st in the men’s épée event, also winning seven bouts, including a 5–4 victory over Porter Hesslegrave from Columbia and a 5–1 dismantling of Zsombor Garzo from Penn.
“I am particularly proud of our two freshmen that competed this past weekend,” men’s team captain Derek Soled ’16 said. “They both were able to achieve several wins against the top fencers in the country, and it is especially great that they will be returning next year as leaders on their squads.”
Columbia won the national championship with 174 won bouts across the six different weapon and gender combinations. Princeton came in third, Harvard placed seventh, Penn finished eighth and Cornell earned 15th. Brown, which both Yale teams defeated at this year’s Ivy Round Robins, was the lone Ancient Eight squad to place below Yale, finishing 23rd.
Six seniors will graduate from this year’s Yale men’s team, and four will graduate from the women’s squad.