Fencers Take Solid Marks at NCAA West Invitational

    FENCING — UCSD’s first important road meet of the 2009 season ended on a positive note after the team went up against tough Division-I opponents on Nov. 14 at the NCAA West Invitational. Held in Palo Alto, Calif., the meet pitted the Tritons against Stanford University, Northwestern University and the University of Detroit Mercy.

    The meet turned out good results for the Tritons, with both the men’s and women’s squads rallying up points that will weigh heavily on rankings for the NCAA Championships next Spring.

    Looking to build off of last season’s 17th-place finish at the NCAA National Championships, the 2009 Tritons went into the meet with a positive outlook.

    “We were fencing some pretty tough competitors, but we have great team spirit and a lot of talented people on our team,” sophomore epee fencer Casey Gillcrist said.

    Repeating their performance at the NCAA Invitational last fall, the women’s team defeated host Stanford with a 16-11 overall finish. Contributing to the win were senior foil fencers Alicia Trigeiro and Gillcrist, who each won two out of three bouts in their events, sabre and epee fencing, respectively.

    “We showed that, as representatives of UCSD, we can put up a good fight against any team,” senior sabre fencer Samantha Rojales said.

    Along with a narrow victory over Stanford, the Triton women also picked up a commanding 25-2 win over Detroit Mercy. UCSD was not able to finalize a sweep of the women’s competition, however, falling 23-4 to the No. 6 Northwestern University.

    “Our match against the Northwestern women was disappointing,” head coach Heidi Runyan said. “They are a great team, but we were flat. We should have pulled off a few more victories.”

    On the men’s side, UCSD was looking to avenge a loss at last year’s meet. The Tritons crushed Detroit Mercy 24-3, but — just like last year — fell 16-11 to the No. 9 Stanford Cardinal.

    Rojales said she was pleased with both her individual effort and the team’s overall performance at the meet.

    “This tournament was a great bonding time as a team,” Rojales said. “Playing against these schools inspires me to improve myself so that I can really step it up in the next tournament.

    UCSD looks to continue its early-season improvements at a home meet against Cal Tech and UC Irvine on Nov. 24.

    “We will just focus harder,” Runyan said. “This was our first tough challenge of the season for our team as a whole. In the winter we have some good competitions lined up to prepare us to close out the season well.”

    Readers can contact Yvonne Chow at [email protected].

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