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Fencing squads begin postseason play against Ivy League foes

Sports Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The men’s and women’s fencing teams competed at the Ivy League Championship tournament at Harvard over the weekend, with the women’s squad finishing fourth and the men’s placing sixth.

The women’s team went 3-3 over the weekend — the best it has fared in four years. During captain Cory Abbe’s ’13 first season on the team, the women’s squad was winless at the tournament, and it won one match each of the two following years. This year, it boasted wins over Cornell, Penn and Yale.

The match against Penn was not decided until the penultimate game, when Kathryn Hawrot ’14 gave Brown its 14th win. The victory provided the margin Brown needed and to end up edging out Penn 14-13.

“It was pretty stressful,” Hawrot said in reference to the Penn matchup. “We were all really happy and impressed we were able to do that.”

Members of the women’s squad performed better than in past years and supported each other throughout the tournament, Abbe wrote in an email to The Herald.

“The weekend went extremely well,” she wrote. “What we did exceptionally well was come together and fight as a team. … We yelled our hearts out for every touch our teammates got.”

The men’s squad did not fare as well. It lost each of its five matches, dropping to last place in the tournament — Dartmouth does not have a fencing squad, and Cornell only has a women’s team.

Head Coach Atilio Tass said though the squad did not win any of its matches, it showed a “great competitive spirit.”

Nick Deak ’14, a fencer on the men’s team, said the squad was somewhat disappointed with its finish.

“We definitely didn’t do as well as we were hoping,” he said. “We didn’t do as well as we did last year, overall.”

Though the men’s team did not fare as well as it has in the past,  it, along with the women’s squad, boasted individual stars. Deak won 11 of his 15 individual matches and was awarded a first team All-Ivy spot for the tournament. Hawrot won 13 of her 18 matches and made the second team All-Ivy.

“It was pretty exciting,” Deak said of his All-Ivy selection. “The past two years that I’ve fenced in this tournament, I’ve had pretty bad tournaments. The competition is really good … So, this year, I was pretty happy to kind of break that trend of doing kind of poorly.”

Hawrot, who made first team All-Ivy her freshman year, said her All-Ivy selection “feels good,” and that the competition has gotten tougher now that the top Ivy fencers — who took last spring off to concentrate on qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics — have returned.

“I wasn’t really expecting (the selection),” Hawrot said. “At least for the women’s side, the tournament was a lot harder. A lot of Olympians returned from taking semesters off.”

Abbe, Deak and Hawrot will be among the 20 fencers Brown will send to this weekend’s Regional Championship tournament at St. John’s University. This tournament will determine which fencers will compete at the NCAA Championship tournament, which takes place in San Antonio later this month.


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