The UConn Fencing Club went into Saturday’s New England Fencing Championships with high hopes, and the day was filled with many ups and downs. While many of the schools came in more prepared, UConn managed to fight hard and pulled off some improbable upsets.
“A lot of people think of UConn as a nothing team because we’re a club, but now I think we’re establishing ourselves as one of the better schools in New England,” men’s foilist Dalton Hawie said after the tournament.
Starting off with men’s foil, UConn beat URI, UNH, UMass, Tufts and BU overall, and against the varsity teams, managed to take a few bout wins. Gabe Lozada-Rodriguez defeated Vassar’s Adlai Brandt-Ogman 5-4, and Sammy Soumakis and Dalton Hawie both scored three touches against Sacred Heart.
In men’s epee, UConn beat Tufts, UMass, UNH and URI. Other highlights included Nick Tatro’s defeat of Sacred Heart’s Nicolo Cerminara, Edward Russell’s three touches scored against Vassar’s Nishay Bhatnagar and Sam Zelin pushing Sacred Heart’s Troy Kapitzke to 4-4 before losing at the end.
Men’s sabre started out on an unfortunate note, with Mike McClellan unable to attend, but Jack Dineen and Thomas George still put up a fight. As they had to take an automatic loss in the best-of-three against every school, they were unable to win any meets overall, but highlights included Dineen’s 5-3 victory over URI’s Kevin Kwan and George’s 5-1 defeat of Sacred Heart’s Quinlan Sullivan.
Women’s foil claimed victory over BU, Mount Holyoke, Sacred Heart, Smith, Stony Brook, UNH and URI, and had the only fencer from UConn, Kathryn Atkinson, to qualify for the individual tournament. For highlights, Sarah Pasqualetti scored a 5-0 victory against UNH’s Olivia Deblois-Hill, Meghan Plourde defeated Sacred Heart’s Chenchen Cui 5-1 and Kathryn Atkinson beat Sacred Heart’s Allyson Stejakoski 4-3 in a close bout that went the distance.
Women’s epee beat Mount Holyoke, Sacred Heart and Stony Brook, with Grace Mcfadden beating Sacred Heart’s Julie Rocklien 5-1, Alexandra Hessberger battling Vassar, Sacred Heart and Brandeis’ top fencers all to close 4-5 defeats, and Amanda Hernandez taking down Brandeis, MIT and Sacred Heart 5-4, 5-3 and 5-4 respectively.
Women’s sabre faced the same predicament as the men’s squad, as being down a member meant a sweep was the only way to victory, but Alexandria Boutin and Ella Byrne still shined despite this. Even though they were unable to capture a squad victory, the two pulled off multiple decisive Varsity upsets, as Byrne defeated Sacred Heart’s Emaly Pereira 5-0 and Boutin beat Vassar’s Rose Parker 5-2.
In conclusion, UConn had a solid day. While there were clear areas for improvement, there were many moments to be proud of as well, and the squad now has a little over a month to prepare for the National Club Fencing Championships in Springfield, MA.
Sam Zelin is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org