NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Having finished up its dual-meet regular season by winning the inaugural United States Collegiate Squad Championships, the Yale men's fencing team is now getting ready for the NCAA National Championships. The National Championship is an individual tournament which will eventually name one champion for each weapon. The journey beings on Sunday with NCAA Northeast Regional Championships, hosted by Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. This weekend's results, in conjunction with overall season results, will determine the qualifiers for the National Championships, which will be held at Ohio State University in two weeks.
"Much of our success this season has been based on our team dynamic -- we have tremendous energy when we compete together as a team," reflected captain Jonathan Holbrook. "We'll be trying to transfer that to this individual competition, cheering on and coaching each other over the course of the day."
Fencers qualify to participate in the NCAA Regional Championship based on their record during the regular season. In order to qualify, a fencer needs to have fenced at least 21 bouts against at least nine different schools. Of all these regular season bouts, a fencer must have won at least 25 percent of them. A school in the Northeast Region may qualify any number of fencers, though it is only allowed to send up to three fencers per weapon to the competition, for a total of nine. Seeding for the tournament is determined based on regular season performance.
As was the case last year, Yale will once again be sending the maximum number of fencers to the tournament. The are:
The format for the tournament will be as follows. The fencers will initially be divided into groups of six or seven, after which they will compete in successive pools with elimination until a final group of 12 fencers is reached for each weapon class. The winner will then be determined from those final twelve fencers, after they compete in a round-robin of five touch bouts. Only two fencers from each weapon may move on to the National Championships.
"I think we have a good chance to qualify the maximum six fencers for Nationals," said Holbrook. "It will take a strong performance in all of the weapons and I am confident that our team is ready for the challenge."
The Yale fencers have been preparing for the tournament throughout the first week of the spring break holiday—some have stayed in New Haven, while others have prepped at their hometown clubs.
Report by Arsi Sefaj '11, Yale Sports Publicity