Fencing first years close season with strong performance at regionals

By EMILY BARY ’14

Co-Editor in Chief

Courtesy of Cassie Hoef '15

Courtesy of Cassie Hoef ’15

Wellesley’s top nine fencers finished up their season this Sunday, March 9, with a slew of impressive showings at the NCAA regional tournament, held at home in the field house.

Hundreds of spectators packed the Keohane Sports Center to watch athletes from 18 schools compete in men’s and women’s action. While Wellesley didn’t take top honors in any of the three weapons or send athletes on to the national tournament, the Blue saw a lot to be proud of in its young squad of fencers.

Foil fencers Pamela Wang ’17 and Jessica Guo ’17 highlighted the action for Wellesley, as both rookies made it to the second round of competition. Wang ended up finishing 28th in the region and eighth among Division-III competitors, and Guo followed shortly behind with a 33rd place regional finish and an 11th place finish among Division-III fencers.

“At this event, we compete against the top fencers in the Northeast region, many of whom are on the national team, so I couldn’t be more proud of them for staying confident and fencing their best without allowing themselves to be intimidated by such skilled opponents,” captain Courtney Collins ’14 said.

Captain Dania Wright ’14 closed out her final season on the Blue and fourth appearance at the regional tournament with two wins on the day in sabre competition. Teammate Charlotte Treadwell ’16 also notched two wins, competing in epée.

Wellesley’s depth in all three weapons is perhaps surprising, given that the Blue had hardly any foil or sabre fencers when the season began.

Guo, like many of the first years on the team, had to adopt a new weapon at the beginning of the year, but she looked like a veteran on Sunday. Wang has only ever fenced foil, and she provided a huge boost to Wellesley’s foil squad hung tough with older competitors all season long. So did Jasmine Davis ’17 and Alice Xu ’17, who placed in the top 20 among Division-III sabre fencers at regionals, despite being epée specialists prior to this season.

For Wright and Collins, Sunday’s meet marked the end of their college careers. They leave behind a team that looks strikingly different from the one they joined as first years in 2010. The 2010-2011 squad boasted nine strong seniors and went on to post a 22-5 record on the season. Each year since has looked like a rebuilding year, but Wellesley now seems to once again have a solid lineup in all three weapons. The Blue will only lose two players to graduation, though Wright and Collins were both key contributors and will leave a void.

The senior captains hope that they were able to leave behind a legacy for their younger teammates. For Collins, who battled a series of injuries throughout her four years on the team, serving as a captain allowed her to give back to the team even when she wasn’t able to compete.

“Our younger fencers really admire and look up to the older juniors and seniors on the team, so it’s been really cool to physically show them that nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying,” Collins said. She suffered a serious elbow injury her sophomore year and learned to fence with her opposite hand during her junior year, though was sidelined again by a hip injury.

Collins thought that her performance at regionals brought her college career full circle.

“I am incredibly proud to have bookended my fencing career by qualifying for NCAA regionals my first year with my right hand, and my senior year with my left,” she said.

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