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Masood ’19 wins First Team Men’s Foil to close out college career

Senior captures fourth NFC All-Star title to cap accomplished career, closes with 28-2 record

Fencing Captain Umar Masood ’19 took home First Team Men’s Foil with a 93.33 win percentage and a 28-2 record to close out his college career Saturday. Masood also boasts three prior NFC All-Star titles. Since winning the NFC’s Men’s Rookie of the Year in 2016, he has qualified twice for the NCAA Championships and has earned All-Ivy honors. Before coming to Brown, Masood fenced for the Rochester Fencing Club and competed at the USA Fencing National Championships. For his outstanding performances this season, Masood has been named The Herald’s Athlete of the Week.

Herald: Congratulations on your fourth NFC Championship title! What does this victory mean for you and for the team?

Masood: We compete in the Northeast Fencing Conference. A lot of our really big rivals are in that region, like Boston College and Brandeis (University). We’ve struggled a lot in the last few years to get any really big wins there. This weekend, (we ended up) getting six fencers being NFC All-Stars — a lot were repeat All-Stars — so that was really cool. We had great contributions from our outgoing senior class and a lot of freshmen really stepped up too. For me to be NFC champion was a really good way to end my senior season, so I was happy about that.

How did you first get into fencing?

The Olympic training center used to be right down the street from me. One of my older sister’s guy friends fenced there and he introduced me one day when I was around eight years old. After that, I was hooked on it.

Do you have any pre-match rituals?

I’ll listen to music a lot. I listen to Migos and Future. Other than that, I’m not a superstitious person, so I just hear my music and warm up and do my thing.

How do you feel you’ve grown as an athlete in your time at Brown?

I think the biggest things are definitely maturity and leadership. A lot of times when I was a freshman, I’d go out there, get nervous and not know how to handle situations that hadn’t gone my way. I think now having four years of experience underneath my belt, I’m able to handle adverse situations a lot better. I know how to prepare for a competition and I’m able to achieve my full potential.

Do you have a signature move or style?

I think people would describe my fencing as really fast. I’m not the biggest guy out there. A lot of guys are over six feet or super strong, so I think speed is something that really helps me in my fencing.

What are the spectator perks of Brown fencing?

(Fencing) is something you won’t really see many places. There are only about 30-40 schools in the country that have fencing. Out of those schools, maybe half will host a meet during the year. At Brown, we have a home meet every single year. It’s a chance to see an Olympic sport you might not have seen before, other than on TV. I personally think it’s really exciting to watch. There (are) a bunch of matches going on at once. If you go to the Olney-Margolies Athletic Center during the meet, you’ll probably see 30 to 40 people fencing at one time. I’d encourage people to check it out.

What should we expect to see from our fencing team in the coming year?

It’s our coach’s third year next year, so he’s kind of established the team culture he wants … of accountability and approaching fencing not as an individual, but as a member of a team. … Everyone’s morale is really great. … I know everyone’s committed to work hard in the off-season, too. We have three new captains next year. I’m outgoing, so I might help out. I think you can expect some really good results, definitely some more NFC Champions, probably a lot more All-Ivy fencers. We could send some more fencers to the NCAA nationals which would be cool too. I think we’re on the upward trend, which is nice.

You’re about to graduate, so what’s next?

I think I’m going to take a little time off fencing. I’ve been working hard the last four years, putting a lot of hours in every day and in the offseason. I’ll probably take a couple weeks off. I’m thinking about staying for a fifth-year masters at Brown. If so, I would love to help out the team. Maybe you’ll see me on the sidelines next year doing some coaching, but we’ll see.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.


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