Harvard Qualifies 10 for NCAA Tourney
This competition determined the number of fencers moving on to the NCAA Championships in Houston March 17-20. Selections for the NCAA Championship are based on both the regional seeding (40 percent) and the regional finish (60 percent). A maximum number of 12 fencers (six men and six women, and two in each weapon) from any one school can qualify.
The Harvard men’s team, ranked sixth in the national coaches’ poll, and the women’s team, ranked fourth, were both coming off big victories over Princeton and Yale en route to Ivy League championships last weekend at the Malkin Athletic Center, giving the team reason to have high expectations going into this year’s qualifier.
The Crimson came through, finishing off a phenomenal day by qualifying five men and five women for NCAAs.
“This is the best we’ve done,” Harvard coach Peter Brand said. “Each year we keep qualifying more people.”
The Crimson qualified five fencers for the 2003 NCAA championship and eight for the 2004 championship.
This year, in the men’s saber competition, both junior co-captain David Jakus and junior Tim Hagamen made the NCAA field.
In men’s foil, only Enoch Woodhouse performed well enough to advance to the national championships.
In men’s epee competition, both freshman Benjamin Ungar and junior Julian Rose made it through all four rounds to finish in the top-10 overall and qualify for NCAAs.
“Today it was a time for everyone to shine,” co-captain David Jakus said. “And I think we did that.”
The women’s team also had a number of strong finishes, qualifying two freshmen, Carolyn Wright and Alexa Weingarden, in the saber competition.
In women’s foil, freshman Emily Cross went undefeated in the final round of competition to make the field. Junior co-captain Chloe Stinetorf also qualified for nationals, but sophomore Anne Austin, despite finishing in the top 10, couldn’t earn a spot, since no team is allowed more than two entrants per weapon.
In women’s epee, the Crimson qualified sophomore Jasmine McGlade, who performed well, winning numerous bouts throughout the competition.
“[The whole team] really preformed exceptionally well,” Brand said.
It seemed that nearly everyone was pleased with the day’s outcome, but they were also mindful of the challenge ahead.
Looking forward to nationals, Harvard will face tough competition from the likes of Notre Dame, Penn State, and Ohio State. In the NCAA tournament, the fencers represent themselves and their schools. A round robin determines the final team standings while the top four fencers face off for the individual championship in each weapon.
“I think we are really shooting for top four overall,” Jakus said. “Third would be great, but it is tough competing against teams qualifying all 12.”
Optimism for the team’s continued success doesn’t end at nationals. Brand is already excited about the prospects for next year.
“With the team we’ll have, I think we’ll be able to qualify all twelve next year,” Brand said.