Fencers Open Fall Season With Winning Meet

    In their first event of the 2009 season, the Tritons grabbed 12 medals at the College Open on Oct. 18. (Daniel Caddell/Guardian File)
    In their first event of the 2009 season, the Tritons grabbed 12 medals at the College Open on Oct. 18. (Daniel Caddell/Guardian File)

    FENCING — One competition into the season, the Tritons couldn’t have asked for a better start to their 2009-10 campaign.

    Both new and returning fencers gave solid performances at the College Open tournament at UC Irvine on Oct. 18, offering the team hope for a successful year.

    The annual tournament in Irvine featured individual competitions in men’s and women’s sabre, epee and foil. Going against 15 to 30 opponents in each event, the Tritons meddled 12 times — four of which were gold.

    UCSD’s coaching staff was very pleased with the team’s early season performance, and pointed out the men’s foil team as a big factor.

    “A lot of [our success] can be credited to the very good men’s foil results,” assistant coach Josh Runyan said. “We have a good recruiting group of men’s foil fencers, along with the returners.”

    After being named All-Americans at the national competition in March, senior women’s foil captain Pilar Alicea and junior men’s foil captain Benjamin Dorn placed first in the foil events.

    Alicea went undefeated in her bouts to claim gold for the second year in a row, while Dorn led a dominating group of Triton foil fencers, who completed a sweep in the event.

    “I’m happy that we did so well,” Alicea said. “I hope that it sets the stage for the whole season, and lets other schools know that we’re on top of it this year. I’m really pumped about it, and I think we’re going to do great.”

    Sophomore Michael Fong, who represented UCSD at national last spring, placed second in foil and freshman Joseph Schenkel took third.

    UCSD didn’t stop at taking the top three spots in men’s foil: Three Triton freshman placed in the top seven out of 26 total competitors, leaving other teams in the dust.

    In men’s sabre, another UCSD freshman, Christopher Bonner, took down last year’s winner — UCLA’s Kyle Chan — to bump the Bruins out of the top three.

    Junior Jonathan Ott, UCSD’s only representative at the 2009 nationals for men’s sabre, demonstrated strong defensive skills to capture the gold.

    The men’s team continued dominating the tournament with another gold medal in the epee event: Sophomore Patrick Burton beat out two tough opponents from Arizona State University for first place.

    On the women’s side, Alicea was followed in the women’s foil rankings by freshman Rose Forcier, who tied for third place with ASU’s Ashley Kunihiro.

    Alicea, a women’s captain, believes the team has the potential to churn out a very solid season.

    “I’m going to push myself as much as I can, and I hope that the team follows in my path,” Alicea said. “They’re doing a great job, and I just hope to keep them motivated and inspired for the season. I’m really happy for all of them — it makes me proud to be their captain.”

    While Alicea earned the Triton’ women’s only gold, UCSD fared well in its other competitions as well. Using their experience as veterans, Triton foil senior Alicia Trigeiro and senior sabre Anne Schnecker took silver and bronze respectively, while senior sabre Samantha Rojales placed sixth.

    With several impressive individual performances in the books, the Tritons will now gear up for their first team tournament of the season.

    UCSD travels to the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena on Oct. 24 to compete in a meet against squads from UCLA, the University of Southern California, UC Santa Barbara and ASU.

    The event at Cal Tech represents the first of three meets in a short fall season for UCSD.

    The Tritons will also compete in the NCAA West Invitational at Stanford University and host a home meet against Cal Tech and UC Irvine in November.

    Readers can contact Janani Sridharan at [email protected].

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