Fencing dominates its opponents

UCSD’s men’s and women’s fencing teams are quietly having one of their best seasons ever. While women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, men’s water polo and men’s cross country hog the UCSD limelight with their runs at national glory, the fencing squads’ successes have been invisible to the UCSD public.

Head coach Stuart Lee is excited about his team’s performance this year.

“”This is a pinnacle year for us,”” Lee said. “”This is one of the best squads that I’ve had in the five years that I’ve been coaching here.””

The Tritons are off to an amazing start this year. Both the women’s and men’s teams are undefeated, each posting perfect 7-0 records. Among the victories was one against fourth-ranked Stanford University at a dual meet Nov. 10.

“”We’ve basically won everything this year,”” Lee said.

UCSD boasts the top fencers in five of the six fencing categories.

In women’s foil, which involves a thrusting weapon, senior Jessica Fripp leads the way for the Tritons. Promising sophomore Christine Megowan heads the women’s epee squad, which also uses a thrusting weapon. In women’s sabre, which uses a slashing weapon, sophomore Katie Stapko ranks at the top.

On the men’s side, senior team captain Andrew Anfora places atop the foil competition while senior Justin Hunt heads the men’s epee division. As a team, the men’s sabre squad is ranked second in the division but does not house the top individual fencer.

“”I’ve never as a coach had five people in individual first place before,”” Lee said. “”This is truly amazing.””

The Tritons compete in the Intercollegiate Fencing Conference of Southern California. UCSD’s men’s squad has led the conference for the past two years. The women’s squad placed first two years ago while placing second last year. Both squads look poised for conference championships again this year.

The real test for the Tritons will come at their first post-break competition, which won’t be until Feb. 2. That will be a large dual meet held at the Air Force Academy in Colorado, which will feature top-ranked teams like Stanford, Notre Dame, Duke, Northwestern, Florida and Air Force. Lee hopes his team will make a statement at that competition.

“”For me, that competition is about playing with the big boys,”” Lee said. “”I think that we are ready.””

Lee has a lot of big plans for his team.

“”My goal is to make us into a national powerhouse,”” Lee said. “”I think that the school has an interest in it and I only see things getting better for us.””