Fencing Dominates Without Usual Stars

    FENCING — The UCSD fencing team used momentum generated at
    the difficult Northwestern Meet two weekends ago to crush its three opponents —
    Cal Tech, Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine — on Feb. 10. The four teams had
    already met earlier this season in a preseason warm-up that UCSD won handily,
    but the margin of victory was still nowhere near as wide as it was this time.
    The Tritons steamrolled their competition, with the men beating Cal Tech 25-2,
    Cal State Fullerton 24-3 and UC Irvine 26-1, and the women defeating Cal Tech
    24-3, Cal State Fullerton 23-4 and UC Irvine 24-3.

    The dominating wins are made even more impressive by the
    fact that UCSD won the meet without most of its top fencers. In a smaller meet
    like this one, competing fencers from other schools are usually not as highly
    ranked as Triton fencers, so sending UCSD’s top fencers against these schools
    would have created a lose-lose situation.

    According to senior Chelsea Ambort of the epee squad, if a
    higher ranked fencer fences a lower ranked player, it brings down their
    strength points even if the better fencer wins. This system is designed to give
    unranked fencers a chance of qualifying for the NCAA Regionals. Regardless of
    the fact that their best fencers took the weekend off, the Tritons were still
    able to win due to the team’s depth.

    “Even without our starters competing that day, we rocked the
    competition,” Ambort said. “It just shows how strong of a team UCSD fencing is,
    we can put our alternates in and still sweep the day.”

    The ranking system, coupled with the lesser competition at
    the meet, gave UCSD the opportunity to give match time to some fencers who had
    not competed much this year. Even with a new lineup, the team was able to win
    relatively easily with all of the newer players performing well.

    “After all of these substitutions, I didn’t know what to
    expect,” sophomore epee Sean Blum said. “It turns out that the result barely
    changed; all of the subs did a fantastic job. We were working really well
    together, giving each other advice on the strip, that really helped us
    dominate.”

    A major highlight of the meet was the play of sophomore
    sabrist Bryan Kim, who won 5-1 over the weekend and remains the only undefeated
    fencer on the entire UCSD squad. Kim and the rest of the Tritons will next
    travel to the Intercollegiate Fencing Conference of Southern California.

    “[The IFCSC] is going to be important, but regionals is our
    main concern,” junior foil Zitin Kachru said. “It’s worth 60 percent of our
    NCAA season and most of our focus is on that already, and not so much on the
    IFCSC, since hardly any of those matches count for NCAA points.”

    Blum agreed with Kachru, choosing to work toward regionals
    as their main source of motivation.

    “I think that it will only be important as a training
    opportunity and as a morale builder, as far as regionals are concerned,” Blum
    said. “We’re not fencing any of our NCAA opponents that day. Of course, IFCSC
    is important for its own sake. It will be the final event in a great season,
    and we cannot get lazy if we want to win the gold in conference.”

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