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BRIEF: Men's and Women's Fencing Tops Podium in Three Divisions

By Caleb Lee, Crimson Staff Writer

With spots at the upcoming NCAA Championships up for grabs at the NCAA Northeast Regional, the Harvard men’s and women’s fencing squads walked away with a handful of top-10 finishes and some guaranteed qualifiers for the next round of action to be held at Columbus, Ohio beginning on March 19.

On the women’s side, sophomore sabré fencer Adrienne Jarocki notched her second straight regional gold medal, while co-captain Aliya Itzkowitz earned the bronze to also clinch a berth at the championships. The two will be looking to repeat their one-two finish at the NCAA Championships last year, where Jarocki pulled away for the 15-10 victory over her teammate in the final.

Junior co-captain and sabré fencer Duncan O’Brien and junior épéeist Nicolas Simko took gold medals in their respective divisions to pace the field. While medalists on both the men’s and women’s side are guaranteed NCAA Championship bids, some of the other Crimson fencers on the bubble will have to wait for the final announcement of qualifiers later in the week for official word of their qualification status.

HARVARD WOMEN’S FENCING

The Crimson women—namely, Jarocki and Itzkowitz—made their presence felt on the podium in the sabré division on Sunday. Jarocki dominated the rest of the field throughout the day, finishing at the top of each of the three rounds of pool play she competed in after a first round bye. The Middle Village, N.Y. native recorded a plus-26 indicator en route to a 9-2 record in the final set of bouts to claim gold.

Itzkowitz had a solid day of her own on the strip, recording an 8-3 mark in the final round with a plus-9 indicator that put her in position for bronze.

And in perhaps a small preview of a possible bout to come at the upcoming NCAA Championships, Jarocki defeated Itzkowitz twice on the day, 5-1 in the third round and 5-0 in the fourth.

Co-captain Kara Lee finished 15th in the same division out of 49 fencers in what could be her final bouts wearing the lamé for Harvard.

The Crimson also saw success with the other two weapon classes, headed by freshman foilist MacKenzie Lawrence’s fourth place finish after she tallied seven wins in her first regional. The rest of the Harvard foil squad was not far behind, with sophomores Liana Yamin and Hali Nelson finishing sixth and seventh, respectively.

Representing the épéeists for the Crimson, Emma Vaggo finished seventh with a plus-4 indicator in the final round of pool play. The effort will likely earn the senior a bid to late-March’s championships.

HARVARD MEN’S FENCING

After running the tables in it’s third-straight Ivy League title in early February, the Crimson men continued its momentum into the individual-oriented portion of its schedule, with O’Brien and Simko eking out closely contested gold medals.

Though Simko’s plus-8 indicator was only fourth-best in the 12-person final pool, his eight wins were the most among the group and put the junior on top. O’Brien had a similarly tight finish despite his 9-2 record in the third and final pool round; his plus-17 indicator was just one touch better than that of St. Johns’ Ferenc Valkai. Regardless, both fencers punched their tickets to the NCAA Championships.

Harvard’s foil group of co-captain Brian Kaneshige, junior Jerry Chang, and sophomore Stephen Mageras each finished in the top-10 of their division in a solid showing for the group, which was missing sophomore Michael Woo due to injury.

—Staff writer Caleb Y. Lee can be reached at caleb.lee@thecrimson.com.

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