Four go to fencing nationals

    Coming straight off a strong performance in the regional competition, the UCSD fencing team headed to an even larger stage to compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Championships.

    The Tritons sent four fencers to Drew University in Madison, N.J., March 21-24, where they faced an extremely talented group of competitors that included olympians and world champions.

    UCSD sent two seniors and two freshmen to the event, and it was the youth that shined brightest. Freshman Raelyn Jacobson earned All-American honors by finishing 11th in the women’s epee division. Raelyn won 13 of 23 bouts against competitors from schools such as St. Johns, Yale, Notre Dame, Penn State and Princeton Universities.

    Since fencing is a national collegiate sport, there are no divisions and Triton fencers face off against many Division I opponents. St. John’s took the women’s team competition with 100 points, followed closely by Notre Dame and Penn State. Although the UCSD women’s team finished 14th out of 24 teams overall, the Tritons were the second-place team among those in Division II, finishing only behind Wayne State University, which placed 11th.

    Contributing to that strong finish were senior Josephine Roberts, who finished 23rd in epee, and freshman Keeley Vega, who came in 22nd in women’s foil.

    On the men’s side, senior captain Andrew Anfora struggled at the national championships, finishing 24th in the men’s sabre division.

    While the result was somewhat disappointing for Anfora, he said that making it to the national competition was a surprise for him, and that the opportunity itself was the reward.

    While raising the standard for future Triton fencers, coach Stuart Lee’s squad has elevated the program to a point where some have begun to take notice of UCSD. Jacobson’s strong performance created great expectations for her future here, while Vega’s qualification in her first year shows that the Tritons will have a national presence for several years to come.

    While Roberts and Anfora bid farewell to UCSD, they leave at the highest collegiate level and have been part of a program that is definitely on the rise.

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