UCSD Fencing on Point at Bladerunner

    Senior captain Pilar Alicea won gold for the second straight year at the Bladerunner tournament (Daniel Caddell/Guardian FILE).

    FENCING — While their fellow Tritons were coveting the last few days of the holiday break, the UCSD fencers started off 2010 with a dominating performance at the 14th annual Bladerunner tournament held Jan. 2 and Jan. 3 at UCSD.

    Open for all fencers part of the United States Fencing Association, the competition brought in top individuals from some of the most elite clubs in California. Senior team captain Pilar Alicea took gold in the women’s foil for the second consecutive year at the event. Freshman Alex Lavin, competing in the epee event for only the second time in his short career, placed eighth, earning him a reputable C rating.

    The tournament ­—hosted by UCSD as a fundraiser to help the team pay for travel and registration fees —featured over 200 competitors with fencers as young as 16 and as old as 63. Bladerunners hosted some of the best fencers in the state in addition to an individual from the Ukrainian national team.

    Since strong competition was the perfect opportunity for the Tritons to reignite their competitive spirit, they weren’t able to hold any practices over the holidays. Without any practice time, Alicea didn’t expect such a strong performance.

    “I was a little concerned about the timing of the tournament,” Alicea said. “That being said, I was impressed with the team’s overall performance.”

    Alicea continues a stellar fall campaign, which included a victory at the Collegiate Open and an undefeated run in competitions against UCLA, USC, UC Santa Barbara and Arizona State.

    Other Triton women turned in top performances as well. Freshman Victoria Mo placed third in the women’s epee and senior Alicia Trigeiro took eighth in women’s saber. Freshman Rose Forcier claimed bronze in the women’s foil with senior Razan Faraj placing eighth.

    For the men, freshman Chris Bonner took fifth in the men’s saber. UCSD took three of the top eight spots in men’s foil with sophomore Michael Fong, junior Benjamin Dorn and freshman Nalin Desai finishing fifth, sixth and eighth respectively. Sophomore Patrick Burton finished seventh in men’s epee, with Levin one spot behind.

    Usually competing in the foil competition, Levin recently decided he would try his hand at epee. In only his second outing, Levin’s eighth place finish earned him a C rating, something that usually takes years to do, according Alicea.

    Now in its 14th year, the Bladerunner tournament has seen the number of competitors steadily increase, and is bringing in better competition and more money. With each year, the intensity of the back-to-school tournament has risen, providing an excellent platform for the Tritons to hone their individual skills in preparation for the North American Cup D Jan. 15 through Jan. 18 in San Jose.

    The Tritons will send only a handful of fencers to the event that features individuals from all over the nation and world. UCSD will be represented in all events at the tournament.

    Team competition will resume Jan. 30 and Jan. 31 at the Northwestern Duals that will feature tough Division-I competition.

    “Working with the team this year has been incredible, and I look forward to seeing what more we can achieve during the rest of our season,” Alicea said.

    Additional reporting by Yvonne Chow.

    Readers can contact Matt Croskey at [email protected].

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