After two years of not being able to compete due to COVID-19, UConn fencing is finally getting its second crack at the United States Association of Collegiate Fencing Clubs’ national championship.
UConn will be competing against 38 other college teams from around the country, including all three of the top-3 finishers from 2019: Michigan, Navy and Florida.
The two-day event will feature multiple different formats as the tournament progresses. Starting off, Saturday will resemble the format of the New England Intercollegiate Fencing Conference Championship that UConn participated in back in February. Split into pools of three, each school will fence about 12 other schools in a round-robin, where each team has a designated A strip, B strip and C strip fencer. Each A will fence all the other As, each B will fence all the other Bs and each C will fence all the other Cs, and a team will be considered to have won a 1-on-1 matchup if two out of three of their fencers defeat another team’s fencers.
After the round-robin stage concludes, the rest of Saturday will be devoted to an individual bracket of 16 fencers. The top eight A strip fencers, the top five B strip fencers and the top three C strip fencers will be selected to compete in this round.
On Sunday, the top-32 squads for each weapon, based on round-robin performance, will be seeded into a team bracket. Each squad will fence for every position, meaning that every team will fence a total of five rounds on the day. At the end, a champion will be crowned for each event.
Here are the six squads UConn is sending to the event:
Sneha Kumar – A
Kathryn Atkinson – B
Julia Luscomb – C
Sally Dai – Alternate
Xavier Braun – A
Phil Nicopoulos – B
Josh Liefeld – C
Finn Byrne – Alternate
Grace McFadden – A
Lela Romeo – B
Kelly Yeung – C
Edward Russell – A
Chris Pedersen – B
Sam Zelin – C
Adin Jennings – Alternate
Alex Boutin – A
Sarah Pasqualetti – B
Anna Thai – C
Alan Fotiyev – A
Ruiwen Lin – B
Nick Rossiter – C
Only one fencer on the roster was on the team the last time UConn competed at nationals, and that is former president Sarah Pasqualetti, now a graduate student, who switched from foil to sabre this year.
On the subject of the 2019 nationals, UConn looks to improve across the board on its results this year. Here’s how the team did then:
Women’s foil finished 26th out 28 in the round-robin, then slightly improved to 25th in the Sunday Bracket.
Men’s foil, UConn’s strongest squad at the time, came out of the round-robin in eighth, and proceeded to take seventh in the bracket. Also, B strip Adam Boislard (currently head coach of the team) and C strip Ohm Patel qualified for the individual round.
Women’s epee did not field a squad for 2019, so McFadden, Romeo and Yeung will represent the squad in its first nationals.
Men’s epee did compete, exiting the round-robin stage in 18th, only to fall all the way to 32nd on Sunday.
Women’s sabre faced a similar fate to men’s epee, as they finished 26th out of 26 in round-robin competition, and stayed at 26th for the bracket.
Lastly, men’s sabre finished 16th on Saturday, with C strip Gabe Lozada-Rodriguez qualifying for the individual round, and the squad ended up finishing 25th out of 32 in the team bracket.
All the action will take place on April 9 and 10, with results posted on USACFC’s website.