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Four fencers qualify for NCAA Championship

Sports Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Bears traveled to Vassar College for the NCAA Northeast Regional Championship Sunday. The best fencers at regionals qualified for the national NCAA Fencing Championships, which will take place March 24-27 at Ohio State University.

“We have had the best regionals in the last 11 years,” Head Coach Atilio Tass wrote in an e-mail to The Herald.

Four fencers from the women’s team qualified for nationals — Kathryn Hawrot ’14 and Avery Nackman ’13 from the foil squad, Cory Abbe ’13 from epee and Caitlin Taylor ’13 from sabre. Teddy Weller ’13 of men’s sabre — who came in 12th — could still receive an at-large invitation to the tournament.

Hawrot came in third place, netting a medal finish for the team. The other qualifying women all placed within the top 10.

Tass said qualifying in this competition and moving onto the NCAA championships was “one of our major goals” this season.

“Most of our season has been intense … mostly in preparation for this competition,” Nackman said.

The slew of tournaments “building up to this was really helpful,” Hawrot said, but she “went in with no expectations” for qualifying.

She was “pretty nervous at the start of the day,” Nackman said.

“You had to keep up with the pace of it,” she said. The foil team was on the floor for six hours, and women’s epee fenced for seven hours.

The first round of the tournament consisted of five pools of seven fencers, which got narrowed down in the second round to three pools of seven fencers. The final round was a single pool of 12.

Despite the long wait, the fencers’ placements in nationals came “down to the last minute,” Nackman said. The fencers’ results for the whole season, as well as on the day of the qualifiers, factor into their selection for the championships.

“Four women is a school record,” Tass said. In the past, the team has advanced a single female competitor at most.

Both squads collectively have not had more than four fencers advance to the championships in the past six years, Hawrot said.

Regarding Weller’s possible spot, Tass said he is “very anxious to know whether (the bid) will come.”

“I am waiting as we speak,” he said.

The women’s foil squad took first overall at the National Squad Championship Feb. 27 at New York University, a presage to the team’s qualifying performances. Women’s epee took third. Weller’s squad — men’s sabre — tied for third place with Yale.

Nackman said she was “excited because (the championship) is a really intense competition.” She said she is looking forward to fencing “the best people” and “hopefully training a lot,” but most of all takes pride in “representing Brown well.”

“We’ve been preparing for this for the whole season,” Tass said, stressing that the team members’ good preparation would carry them through.

“I think we have a good shot,” Hawrot said.


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