The Wellesley fencing team tallied three more victories on Sunday, Jan. 25 in the non-conference Wellesley Invitational, lifting their overall record to 10-11 and 4-7 among Division III competitors. The Blue hosted Mount Holyoke, Boston University (BU), University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) and Tufts, falling only to Tufts in the day’s final match.
Although the invitational featured a much smaller and more relaxed environment than Wellesley’s typical Northeast Fencing Conference competition, the Blue did not take the event lightly.
“We’ve been practicing twice a day with lift since Wednesday to prepare, and I think every single person also had individual lessons with the coaches to get ready,” Alice Xu ’17 said.
Wellesley’s preparation showed in their first decisive 21-6 win over Mount Holyoke, in which they bested the Lyons in all three weapons. Kathryn Ledbetter ’15 and Charlotte Treadwell ’16 lead the Blue in epee, each winning three bouts to help the Blue take a 7-2 advantage. Wellesley’s strong foil team, which went undefeated through the Invitational, then took eight of nine bouts, leaving sabre to complete the trifecta. Sabre fencers Madeleine Barowsky ’18, Jasmine Davis ’17 and Xu topped the Lyons 6-3 and finished a great team effort for Wellesley’s fourth Division III win.
“Even though you’re out there on the strip alone, we really focus on having a sense of teamwork and still coming together and cheering each other on,” co-captain Olivia Wei ’15 said. “It definitely helps our team and it helps morale.”
The Blue went on to top two Division I teams in BU and UMass before meeting Tufts in the fifth and final round. Wellesley defeated BU 18-9, outscoring the Terriers in both epee and foil, this time with epee pulling in eight of their nine bouts for the Blue.
In their largest margin of victory, Wellesley overwhelmed UMass 22-5, once again outscoring their opponent in every weapon. Leading the charge was Wellesley’s foil trio of Pamela Wang ’17, Camille Samulski ’16 and Wei, who shut out the Minutewomen by securing all nine foil bouts.
However, the Blue’s win streak was broken by Tufts, who finished the Invitational with a perfect 4-0 record. Despite strong finishes by Vanessa Willoughby ’18, Treadwell and Ledbetter, who each won their final bout, the Jumbos edged out Wellesley 5-4 in epee. The Blue continued to hang tight following a 5-4 victory in foil to match the score at 9-9, before finally falling to Tufts in sabre for a 16-11 loss in the match.
Despite a bitter ending to an overall strong showing, Wellesley Coach Gamil Kaliouby was happy with his team’s outcome and is excited for the more significant meets to come, including the NCAA Northeast Regional in March.
“Even though we are a team, fencing in that meet is individual and a fencer’s win will only go into (her) account,” said Kaliouby. “There will be teams of all divisions and our goal is to send as many people as we did last year: nine.”
Until then, the Blue will travel to Dartmouth College on Feb. 7 for the third New England Conference meet, where they will have a chance to recapture victory over Tufts.
Photo by Anna Cahill ’18, Sports Editor