Harvard Fencer Tatrallyay Wins All-America Honors
Crimson epee man Geza Tatrallyay, captain of this year's second-place Harvard fencing team and a two-time All-Ivy competitor, added yet another honor to an already illustrious Harvard career by capturing All-America honors at the NCAA tournament in Chicago last weekend.
Tatrallyay won 24 tournament bouts in three days of NCAA action to capture fourth place in the national epee competition. Only the top six performers in the NCAA's attain All-American status.
Tatrallyay, seeded fourth in his pool and 16th overall at the outset of the tournament, stormed through Thursday's preliminary round to win eight bouts against two setbacks. His opening day performance boosted him into a third place standing going into the finals.
On Friday, in the first phase of the finals. Tatrallyay surged to eight more wins, despite a losing streak in which he dropped three consecutive 5-4 decisions. Unfazed by the temporary setback. Tatrallyay came back to finish the day's action in fifth place.
On Saturday's final phase of competition, Tatrallyay resumed his devastating first-day pace, amassing eight more wins while losing only three. His performance ran his overall record in the finals to 16-7, good for fourth place in overall competition.
"It was a great way to end my college career," Tatrallyay said yesterday, although I wish I hadn't dropped so many 5-4 decisions (he lost four). I could have finished second or third."
In other NCAA action, the Crimson had a rough time in Chicago, Captain-elect Terry Valenzuela, the Crimson's sabre representative, straggled home in 18th place. After an impressive first-day performance in Thursday's preliminaries. Valenzuela lost eight of twelve bouts on Friday in the first day of the finals. On the last day of competition Valenzuela could manage but five wins in twelve bouts.
"I guess you'd have to say I choked," Valenzuela said yesterday. "I could have done a lot better but I just didn't perform on the last two days."
Harvard foil man Don Valentine, again ran afoul of the erratic fencing streaks that plagued him throughout the regular season. Valentine, who nearly missed the finals after an unimpressive performance in the preliminaries, could not get untracked in Friday and Saturday's competition. He dropped twelve straight bouts in the first phase of the finals and six more the next day to finish 24th in the tournament.
The University of Detroit won the team NCAA title on the strength of powerful foil and epee performances. NYU came in second, followed by Ivy fencing powers Columbia and Penn.
Harvard, despite the Crimson's disappointing performances in foil and sabre, still finished 11th in the NCAA team competition. The Crimson performance placed Harvard in the top fourth of universities entered in the Chicago action. Over 40 universities participated in Chicago.
Had either Valentine or Valenzuela finished higher in their respective competitions. Harvard would have been given the boost the Crimson needed to slip into the top ten in the NCAA competition.
On the individual level, Columbia's Bruce Soriano won an unprecedented third straight NCAA sabre title. Soriano ravaged all sabre opponents, losing but one bout in three days of competition.