Women Fencers Place Fourth In New England Tournament

The Crimson women's fencing team must have thought it was a Maoist plot. A night before their most important tournament of the year, the New England competition in Providence, R.I. on Sunday, a Chinese restaurant hosting the team banquet served the food so slowly and kept team members up so late they only slept for six hours. One of the team members even contracted MSG poisoning.

But battling the odds with McCarthyesque fervor, the Crimson women struggled to a tie for fourth place out of 17 teams, fading from first or second place only when they tired at the end of a 10-hour day.

Captain Kathy Lowry led the Crimson charge, pasting her easy early opponents, trading bouts with the toughies, and finishing with a rush as she lost but three times in 16 bouts. By beating Yale's Peacock, who was also 13-3, she qualified for the individual finals on the basis of indicators (touches for minus touches against).

Fade in the Clutch

The other three Crimson fencers started off by sweeping most of their early opponents, but faded at the end against relatively weak teams as Harvard dropped to fourth. Jenny Laforet, the number two fencer and next year's captain, finished 8-8 on the day.


The number three and four fencers, Carolyn Powell and Suzy Rivitz, both ended the day with 10-6 records. Powell, recovering some of the confidence she seemed to lose midway through the season, used her quickness and agility to devastate most of her early opponents. Despite her MSG poisoning, Rivitz deceived many of her opponents with her quick parry and counterattack. Standing with her blade low and body frozen, she lured unsuspecting foes forward before trapping them with her speedy response.

Close but no Cigar

In the finals, Lowry crushed the eventual winner, Michelle Prettyman from MIT, 5-2, but dropped three of six bouts in finishing in a tie for fourth place. In one of her losses, against Dartmouth's Julie Sudikoff, she battled gamely back from a 4-1 deficit with one minute left to almost achieve a tie.

Faster than the Eye

With one second left and the score 4-3 against her, she faked to one side of Sudikoff's body and attacked the other for a touch that had, apparently, tied the score. But after persuasion from the Dartmouth coach and the surrounding crowd, the director reversed his decision, saying the fake had come before the "halt", but the touch after it.

In the JV competition, Harvard's Mary Holland beat the eventual winner from MIT and captured four of six bouts in the individual finals, to finish second.

Many onlookers seemed to think that with a bit more instruction and sideline help the Crimson could have taken first on Sunday. But, with coach Ben Zivkovic having to divide his time between men's and women's teams in the off season, the women apparently did not receive enough attention. If the athletic department can dig into its pockets for money for a women's coach next year, their generosity may pay off with interest.

Recommended Articles