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After escaping cuts, fencers off to strong season start

Sports Staff Writer
Monday, December 5, 2011

With the threat of elimination no longer looming, the fencing team is focusing on posting strong results following a 13th-place finish at the NCAA Championships last year.

“Once that pressure was relieved, we had renewed energy,” said Michael Roh ’13. “Going through the struggle brought a sense of unity.”

With many new additions to the team, the Bears hope to build off last year’s finish with another successful result at NCAAs.

“We have a strong freshman class this year,” said Josh Grill ’14. “We filled the holes in the roster.”

Though Roh and Grill both emphasized the addition of Barrett Weiss ’15, Christine Whalen ’15 and Alexander Chiclana ’15, Roh was quick to praise all of the rookies.

Last year, most of the female fencers were walk-ons. But this year, the team was able to bring in some strong first-year recruits.

The team retained experienced fencers as well, including Caitlin Taylor ’13, Yukiko Kunitomo ’12 and Cory Abbe ’13.

Fencers have already competed in three tournaments this season. The squad kicked off its campaign on a high note, bringing home gold in their first tournament, the Big One hosted by Smith College Nov. 5 in Northhampton, Mass.

They followed up their success Nov. 19 at the NFC No. 1 competition at the University of New Hampshire by posting a 7-1 overall record. The women’s team went undefeated, and the men’s team dropped only one matchup in a narrow defeat at the hands of Sacred Heart University.

At their most recent tournament Sunday, the Brandeis Invitational, the team posted a number of victories but was unable to defeat a strong St. John’s University squad.

The men’s team racked up victories against Brandeis, Boston College and MIT, but fell to the University of North Carolina and St. John’s.

The women’s team also turned in a strong performance but was unable to defeat St. John’s.

Against Brandeis, the men’s team put its potential on display with an impressive 7-2 record in the epee. Kelly McGuire ’13, Benjamin McDonald ’14 and Chiclana claimed outstanding wins.

The women’s team topped the men, going 8-1 against UNC in the foil. Vivian Truong ’12 and Kathryn Hawrot ’14 each turned in solid performances.

“Most of the time we dominated, except for the couple good ones,” Grill said.

The team is determined not to waste the opportunity they were given this year in retaining varsity status. According to Roh, the team is prepared to prove that fencing is a sport that deserves to stick around at Brown.

“We are just as competitive and motivated as the other team,” Roh said. “Our team dynamic, it exemplifies Brown athletics.”



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