Nine Fencers Finish Among Top-20 in Individual Divisions Nationally, Jarocki Fails to Defend Title

Sophomore fencer Adrienne Jarocki advanced quickly down the strip with her feet, cocking her saber back as she prepared to lunge at Notre Dame freshman Francesca Russo. But before the she could compete her motion, Russo attacked Jarocki in preparation. After scoring the touch, Russo raised her arms in celebration as Jarocki pulled her mask off and walked off the strip in disappointment.

The final touch by Russo, which clinched an 15-12 elimination round victory, ensured that there would be no repeat NCAA individual championship for the Crimson sophomore. Despite finishing the grueling 23-bout pool play round with 20 wins to earn the top seed, Jarocki would have to wait another year for another shot at an NCAA championship.

“I’m not too happy with this result,” Jarocki said. “Next year I’m going to be a little bit more hungry to repeat what I did freshman year.”

Earlier on the weekend on the men’s side, Harvard freshman Eli Dershwitz also saw his bid for an individual saber title end in the semifinals. After being on the receiving end of what Crimson coach Peter Brand described as “not good” refereeing, Dershwitz fell behind early against fourth-seeded Ferenc Valkai of St. John’s and eventually lost the bout, 15-10.

“I think there were a few things that I didn’t agree with, and instead of just focusing and channeling my disagreement, I really let my emotions get the best of me,” Dershwitz said. “For the last few touches of the bout, I wasn’t entirely there mentally, and I made a few mistakes.”


Besides the two semifinal finishers, Harvard sent eight other Crimson fencers to the NCAA individual championships.

“Considering that we had 10 [fencers] altogether, and we finished up’s pretty good, [also] considering that we had 11 last year and finished up sixth,” Brand said.


Throughout her semifinal bout with Russo, Jarocki had a tough time finishing her attacks.

“The operative word here is that she was tentative, she was a little concerned with her opponent’s counter actions, and as a result, her actions came up short and weak,” Brand said. “She kept fearing the contact and as a result, her attacks were ineffective.”

A nearly simultaneous action that set both green and red lights off was awarded to Russo to give the Notre Dame fencer the 8-5 lead as the first three-minute period came to a close. Jarocki and Brand talked things over in a timeout, and coming out of the break, the Harvard sophomore scored the next touch after getting pushed down her side of the strip.

However, Jarocki was not able to overtake her opponent, and after she drew within one, Russo scored the final two touches of the bout for the 15-12 victory.

“[Russo] was just fencing very well, and I was making the wrong decisions at times,” Jarocki said. “I was a little hesitant to attack because she kept getting me in preparation, and so I was scared to accelerate.”

In the opening round of the championships, Jarocki laid claim to the first seed with a 20-3 record and a plus-51 indicator.

“Overall, Adrienne had two great days, and she had the most wins out of everybody,” Brand said. “She should have won—that was the expectation—but again, the pressure was quite intense to repeat.”


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