Fencing aims to rebuild this year

    With only five of last year’s 18 fencers returning to the squad, the UCSD fencing team thinks of the 2002-2003 season as a chance to rebuild.

    Fencing may be an ancient and somewhat forgotten sport, yet every day a committed group of students can be found in the Main Gym from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. working on footwork and bladework with the hope of ultimately qualifying for the National Collegiate Athletic Association National Championships in March. The Triton team is comprised of men and women participating in the three main types of fencing: sabre, which uses a combination of thrusting and thrashing moves; epee, which involves only a thrusting motion; and foil fencing, which requires just the thrashing movements.

    UCSD is a Division II school competing in a Division I arena due to the lack of schools fielding NCAA-recognized teams. Last year, UCSD was in the top two of Division II schools.

    In his sixth year of coaching the UCSD team, head coach Stuart Lee feels that this year is a chance to rebuild what was a strong program.

    “”Successful recruiting will allow the team to be successful throughout the year,”” Lee said.

    The men’s sabre team is the greatest indication of the promise of the new recruits, according to Lee.

    “”A local fencing club, the San Diego Fencing Club, fielded a team that placed third on the Pacific Coast in the adult fencing league, and we were able to recruit all three,”” Lee said.

    Jeremy Runion, Josh Lovison and Brett Marks are the three who placed third in the Pacific Coast adult league, and they will join returnees team captain Kent Thompson and Adam Qwan this season. Because each team can only field three men in each collegiate sabre competition, and only two sabre fencers will qualify for nationals, these men will compete with one another for the spots, leading to individual improvement.

    After the first two competitions, the Triton men’s sabre team has lived up to its hype. At the first individual meet on Oct. 27 in Irvine, Calif., Runion finished first, Bret Martin finished second, Adam Qwan fourth, and Kent Thompson finished in fifth place in the overall standings of the sabre event, which Lovison could not attend.

    In its second competition on Nov. 2 — a tournament against UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara and USC — the Triton men were able to beat every team in the sabre competition.

    The UCSD women’s team will compliment the men’s team as major contenders in the sabre division as well. Raelyn Jacobsen, a national qualifier as a freshman in women’s epee last season, has switched weapons this year and will be participating in sabre competitions. Though the footwork is the same, the blade work is different, which makes the switch somewhat of a challenge. Lee feels this change will be beneficial.

    “”Now she can use the expertise of the men and the opportunity to practice against them to improve and challenge herself,”” Lee said.

    In the individual competition, held in Irvine, Calif., on Oct. 27, Jacobsen proved successful in her endeavor, beating every competitor she faced.

    To add to Jacobsen’s success, returning sophomore Jennifer Ngoleb will participate in the sabre competitions as well.

    “”I wouldn’t rank one over the other, but they will challenge one another,”” Lee said.

    In the second meet on Nov. 2, in which Ngoleb and Jacobsen competed against each other in the elimination round, Ngoleb came out on top.

    The first official conference and NCAA meet will take place on Nov. 16 at UCSD, and the Tritons will compete against Cal State Fullerton and Caltech. Lee is positive entering this meet.

    “”Both the men and women have the chance to win the overall event,”” he said.

    CSU Fullerton’s ranked epee team and its women’s teams will provide the greatest challenge for the Tritons.

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