Four fencers foil the opposition on their way to nationals

    Exceeding all expectations and asserting itself as a force to be reckoned with, the UCSD fencing team qualified four individuals to the National Collegiate Athletic Association national championships.

    The team placed second overall in the men’s and women’s combined standings, right between traditional regional powers Air Force and Stanford.

    The women were second overall and will send three fencers to the NCAA national championships in Madison, N.J., from March 21 through March 24. Of the three fencing weapons — foil, epee and sabre, the Triton women will be represented in two, with Raelyn Jacobson and Josephine Roberts going in the epee division and Keeley Vega competing in foil.

    The men’s team will send senior captain Andrew Anfora in the sabre division.

    Anfora came to the sport only four years ago, but head coach Stuart Lee says it’s good to see homegrown talent succeed.

    “”Andrew was the big surprise for me,”” Lee said. “”He’s really fenced well for me, and it has surprised everyone how he’s grown as a fencer.””

    With a complicated qualification process that involves a combination of strength of schedule, placement at regionals and politics within the sport, even some Triton athletes who can make a strong case for qualifying did not make the cut.

    Senior Wesley Bellanca won the men’s foil division but his low initial seeding prevented him from qualifying for the national championships.

    Christine Megowan placed third in the Epee division between two of her teammates but also fell short.

    With the largest group of UCSD qualifiers ever and a strong group of nonqualifiers, Anfora notices that the Tritons are gaining recognition.

    “”We’re starting to make waves at the regional level,”” he said. “”In the four years I’ve been on the team, we’ve gone from being relatively a joke to a solid cohesive team.””

    Expectations vary while the Triton fencers head to New Jersey, but it’s clear that they view this as an opportunity.

    Vega said, “”My only expectation is that it will be a great opportunity to fence some very strong fencers.””

    Indeed, like they have been all season, the Triton fencers will look to exceed expectations in New Jersey and put UCSD on the national fencing map.

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