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Athlete of the Week: Jones ’16 ends career with 12th-place finish at nationals

Senior to return to Brown fencing program as assistant coach after illustrious career

Staff Writer
Friday, April 8, 2016

Simon Jones ’16 is not quite ready to leave the Brown fencing program, and in his last competition as a student-athlete, he added another line to his legacy.

Jones, who will return to the program next season as an assistant coach, qualified for the NCAA championship for the third time in his four years at Brown. With a 12th place finish, he also earned honorable mention All-American honors for the second time as a Bear.

Jones is certainly not new to fencing. He’s done it since childhood and has competed in the past six Nationals and the last five Junior Olympics, not to mention multiple international Junior World Cups. He joined the Bears after taking a gap year to focus on fencing and hasn’t looked back since.

Jones finished 10th at the NCAA Northeast Regionals as a first-year. In his next three seasons, he qualified for three NCAA championships, finishing 18th, 12th and 12th despite heightened competition each year.

In this year’s NCAA championship at Brandeis, Jones opened the first day strong, going 6-1 in round one. He fell off his unsustainable first-round pace of plus-13 touches in the next four rounds but still managed to finish with a 12-11 record, good for 12th place out of 24 competitors. Jones also finished 12th last year, but his identical finish represented an improvement because the competition this year was much more talented, he said.

For his hard-fought performance at the NCAA championships and All-American honors, Jones has been named The Herald’s Athlete of the Week.

Herald: How did you get into fencing, and how long have you been doing it?

Jones: I’ve been doing it for 11 years, 10 years, something like that. I don’t remember specifically how long. I got into it through a summer camp … for fencing. I tried it out. I was good at it, so I stayed with it.

How did the team do this season?

There are two divisions in our region; we’re in the lower one. The men went undefeated. The women went 8-2 or 7-3, so I think we did well.

You just went to your third NCAA championship, and you won your second All-American honors this season. What was that like?

I consider it a good success. My goal is always to do better every year, and even though I actually finished 12th last year and this year, it got a lot harder this year, so it’s still better, and I’m happy.

This was your last major Brown fencing event — how did you feel about that? Did you do anything differently?

I didn’t prepare for it any differently. I prepared for it like any other tournament, because it’s just another tournament. I’m actually coming back next year as an assistant coach on the fencing team, but as my last college tournament, I think it was a good one to go out on.

How does the team look going forward?

Everyone on the team is great. It’s a great group of people, and there are a lot of good fencers there. It’s getting stronger — there are a lot of people working to make it a stronger program.

Overall, what have you thought of your four-year fencing career at Brown?

I’ve gotten better, and it’s been a lot of fun. It also takes up a lot of time, but it’s worth it.

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