For the Harvard women's fencing team, it is a chance to prove it is among the nation's best.
For defending men's individual champion Jim O'Neill, it is the opportunity to show he is still the best.
The Harvard women's fencing team makes its second consecutive appearance at the NCAA championship today in Princeton, N.J. All-America Jim O'Neill will defend his NCAA championship this weekend.
The swordswomen, who failed to win a single Ivy game in their first four seasons, finished 10th last year in their first national appearance. The squad, which has no seniors, looks to move up along with the nation's elite to prove it has come a long way from those winless Ivy days.
"Every year we have gotten better and better," junior Captain Penelope Papailias said. "We look to finish somewhere near the top this year."
The Crimson squad qualified two weeks ago with a second-place finish in the NCAA regionals. Papailias also qualified individually with a second-place finish for the second consecutive season.
Junior Kristina Perkin and sophomores Michelle Kosch and Amy Neuhardt round out the Crimson squad.
And The Winner Is...
Harvard is seeded eighth among the 12 teams. Notre Dame has copped the number-one seed.
"We've got a strong chance to get into the top six," Papailias said. "Everyone is ready to go to New Jersey and do really well."
While the swordswomen qualified as a team, two members of the men's fencing team qualified for the individual competition.
O'Neill, who last year captured the epee crown, is fresh off his first championship victory in the Intercollegiate Fencing Association Championships.
O'Neill won the title by a single touch in a three-way fence-off with Columbia's John Normile and Penn's Charles Melcher.
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