NYU, the Eastern Intercollegiate Fencing Association champion, added another trophy to its 1972-1973 collection Saturday, grabbing first places in sabre and epee, to capture the NCAA fencing title at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Md.
For Harvard the NCAA competition was an utter disaster, with only the performance of outgoing captain Terry Valenzuela coming anywhere near what one might term "respectable." Valenzuela won seven out of eleven sabre bouts in the second day of the finals to finish tenth overall in the NCAA individual standings with a 12-11 bouting record.
Valenzuela was seeded 19th in the sabre finals and started out very impressively Saturday. The Crimson senior won his first five, and six out of his first seven, sloughing off in his last three bouts of the day.
The other Harvard fencer in the finals, foil man Phillipe Bennett, improved on his first-day record in the finals, but still came out with an ignominious 5-18 bouting record.
Bennett, who was shell-shocked in the first day of the finals, losing 10 out of 12 bouts after taking seven of ten in the preliminaries, just couldn't bounce back Saturday. Bennett had a 3-8 record in the last day's competition.
The showing of Valenzuela and Bennett, combined with Eugene White's inability to make the finals at all, left the Harvard team performance far, far back in the pack, contesting for last, rather than first, place.
NYU took two firsts and a fourth in the three weapons to edge Lvy League champion Penn by a slim point for the team title. Violet sabreman Peter Westbrook, undefeated during the entire three-day tournament, easily won the sabre title, and teammate Risto Hurme grabbed the epee championship with an impressive 21-2 bouting record.
The third NYU competitor, Rick Bonacorda in foil, came in fourth, giving the Violets just enough to win the team title.
Penn's Brooke Makler, fencing foil this year instead of epee, wrested the individual foil title away from two-year NCAA champion Ty Simmons from the University of Detroit. Maker went undefeated in the three days of competition.
Makler was strongly supported by epee man Ernesto Fernandez, who bounced back from a disastrous showing in the Easterns in which he didn't even make the finals, to take a second behind Hurme. Fernandez compiled a 19-4 bouting record to finish two bouts behind the NYU champion.
The big surprise for Penn was the performance of Quaker sabre man Bill Hamlin who grabbed fourth place in the individual sabre competition. Hamlin, after an undistinguished season, came alive in the NCAAs, and his unexpectedly high finish was almost enough to bring the national title home to the Lvy League.
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