March 21, 2013

Miller, Oliver Ready for NCAA National Championship

Both Look to Build on Past Success

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The Yale women's fencing team will be represented at the Mar. 21-24 NCAA National Championship by a duo of experienced fencers: senior Madeline Oliver and sophomore Lauren Miller, who will compete in saber and foil, respectively.

The culminating event of the 2012-13 fencing season, the NCAA National Championship will be co-hosted by The University of the Incarnate Word and San Antonio Sports at the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, Texas. Miller and Oliver will compete in the 144-person field after their qualification was announced in Indianapolis last Tuesday by the NCAA Men's and Women's Fencing Committee. They will be joined by two members of the Yale men's fencing team: junior Peter Cohen and sophomore Hugh O'Cinneide.

"I am so excited to be heading to San Antonio in a couple of weeks for NCAAs," Miller said. "We all had a tough season with Ivies being pushed back due to the blizzard, and our team did an excellent job as a whole staying focused throughout a long season. 

This is not the first time Miller and Oliver have competed at the NCAA National Championship. Last year, competing as a freshman, Miller powered her way to a seventh-place finish at the NCAA National Championship.

Oliver, who previously captained the Bulldogs, competed at the NCAA National Championship in her freshman and sophomore years. In those two appearances, she finished 23rd and 20th.

Now, the NCAA National Championship will be Oliver's last tournament as a Yale student.

"I really thought regionals would be my last tournament, but I fenced really well and am going to try to continue the momentum through NCAAs," Oliver said. "I am always honored to represent Yale and I think this tournament will be a great way to wrap up my four years here."

Miller and Oliver qualified for the NCAA National Championship on the basis of their performance throughout the season and at the Mar. 10 NCAA Northeast Regional, hosted this year by St. John's in Queens, N.Y.

There, Oliver finished seventh in saber competition to qualify for the NCAA National Championship in seventh place while Miller finished in ninth place, a result that, when combined with her season results, put her through to the NCAA National Championship in seventh place. 

Miller said she especially appreciated the support of her teammates throughout the season, whether in helping to coach her during the NCAA Northeast Regional or cheering her on during tough bouts. 

For both Miller and Oliver, the remaining weeks before the NCAA National Championship will be a time of intense preparation.

"I will be spending the rest of break leading up to NCAAs working to stay in shape and training as much as possible," Miller said. "I am really looking forward to giving it my all at the tournament!"

Similarly, Oliver said she would continue her preparation regime in anticipation of the challenging tournament. 

"My expectations are really to fence my best and have no regrets about my final competition. I think for me, consistency has been the best preparation so I am just going to continue working out, fencing, and doing physical therapy," Oliver said. "I've been building up my endurance for the past six months so I'm just going to try to capitalize on that. I've learned a lot from my past experiences at NCAAs so this year I hope to put those experiences to good use."

Report filed by James Lu '14, Yale Sports Publicity.

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