Club Nationals 2014
The Dartmouth College Fencing Club came away from the USACFC National Championship in Knoxville, TN as the best club fencing team in the country! Combined men’s and women’s team (six-weapon) first place and men’s team (three-weapon) first place finishes were made possible by an incredible showing from every squad. Read the full writeup here!
Current women’s foil squad members Gaby Stern ’14 and Heather Szilagyi ’15 made a pact two years ago—they would win Nationals in 2014 when neither of them was abroad for the competition. With the invaluable addition of Phoebe Liang ’17, women’s foil finished in first place this year after beating the University of Michigan 5-2 in the finals.
Despite being an extremely talented fencer, Lily Ma ’17 spent most of this season as the alternate due to battling injuries. However, she won all of her bouts in the first match of the squad direct elimination round, and we are confident that any combination of Gaby, Heather, Phoebe and Lily would have taken home the championship.
In spite of a widely disputed method for seeding the individual round, all three women’s foil starters finished in the top 8 individually. Phoebe took bronze while Gaby and Heather took 7th and 8th respectively.
The women’s sabre team of Lindsey Lam ’15, Tammy Hua ’17, Ksenia Ryzhova ’17 and Kristin Nascimento ’17—a team composed of freshmen beginners and a junior who started fencing in college and has been off-campus for almost a year—had the most exciting upset of the day. After seeding 22nd after pools, the sabre squad upset the 11th seed with a score of 5-2 and went on to finish in 16th place.
Their victory early in the day energized the entire team and helped secure an overall win for Dartmouth fencing. We have asked a lot of women’s sabre all season, and we could not be more proud of their result.
However, the Dartmouth MVP award unanimously goes to last year’s women’s epee bronze medalist Cecilia Lu ’16. After a cancelled flight forced her to miss the first day of competition and the individual event, Cecilia got on a bus at 2:30 AM for a 12-hour long ride to Tennessee.
Whitney Martin ’17 and Aditi Misra ’14 were asked to fence above their original placement when Cecilia got delayed, with Whitney moving from substitute onto the starting squad. Despite the increased challenge, each had a huge impact on earning epee the 8th place seed after squad pools. With Cecilia ready to fence in the direct elimination round, women’s epee finished with an impressive 5th place result.
After being asked to fence as the number-one Dartmouth fencer in Cecilia’s absence, Annie Yang ’17 took bronze in the individual competition.
The men’s epee squad of Adam Omar ’15, Peter Horak ’14 and Trevy Wing ’13 had an outstanding day and finished in second place after a heartbreaking 5-4 loss to Northwestern University in the finals. Malcolm Leverett ’14 joined DCFC as a senior but quickly earned the right to travel as an alternate and has become an integral part of the team.
Adam also finished in second place individually after coming back from a 10-5 deficit in an amazing quarter-final round against Winston Akins of the University of Florida.
The men’s foil squad of Stuart Ghafoor ’14, Scott Brookes ’14 and Jordan Keehn ’15 fenced incredibly well and finished in 4th place after an exciting victory against the University of Michigan in the quarters. Jordan’s incredible 5-4 win against individual bronze medalist Geoff Marino of the University of Michigan helped set the tone for the match. Everyone was excited and surprised to see Jordan’s fencing yell in full force in Tennessee!
Alternate Ronak Kanwar ’17 also had important victories early in the day.
Scott had a truly amazing weekend and went undefeated in the pool round, finishing 10th in the individual competition after falling to Marino in a great bout.
The men’s sabre squad of Nathan Utterback ’14, Michael Klein ’14 and Ivan Antoniv ’14 also fenced admirably and finished in 5th place. Nate provided yet another top 8 finish for Dartmouth, coming in 6th place in the individual round. Michael also qualified for the individuals and finished in 11th place. Freshman Josh Utterback ’17 has done a great job all season of supporting the senior squad and preparing to take the reins next year.
All in all, 5 of our 6 squads finished in the top 5 and women’s sabre exceeded expectations with a top-16 finish despite their lower levels of competitive fencing experience. There was no better way to end the season than with a men’s team and overall team National Championship, along with 6 individual medals. There was hardly a dry eye on the team as we celebrated our victory and another season with our fencing family came to a close.
Over one-third of our team, including individual medalist Nate Utterback, had never fenced before coming to college. We are proud that we can be so successful while honoring the spirit of a collegiate club sport and devoting a significant amount of time to training new fencers. It is also a testament to the Dartmouth fencing community that so many people with no previous experience choose to make fencing an integral part of their college career.
Finally, we would like to thank our captains Scott and Gaby. The amount of heart and dedication they put into our team is unparalleled. We won club nationals without a coach, meaning they had to deal with all of our logistics and problems all season in addition to being two of our top fencers. DCFC will not be the same without them or any of the seniors. You will all be missed!