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Bulldogs Finish First Day at NCAA Championships

Joanna Lew. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Joanna Lew. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

            Five Yale women's fencers finished their first day of competition at the 2017 NCAA Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana.

            The day was stopped almost as quickly as it started – the foil and epee events were halted mid round (in some cases even mid-bout) because of malfunctioning fencing strips. The venue primarily functions as a hockey rink, so the condensation on the strips made them incredibly slippery, causing a number of near injuries before competition ceased.

            An hour later, after the venue's temperature was lowered and more mats were placed between the ice and the fencing strips, the foil and epee bouts commenced again. Women's saber started over an hour after the intended start time, resulting in senior saber teammates Lillie Lainoff and Joanna Lew fencing well into the evening.

            Captain and senior epeeist Katherine Miller leads Yale women's fencing going into day two, ranked tenth after round 3. On her way to eight wins she beat St. John's Veronika Zulikova (2016 Second Team All-American) 5-2, as well as a former junior world team member, Notre Dame's Madeline Antekeier, 5-3.

            Lew also performed well on the day, going 7-8 to rank 13th. Her most notable finish was a 5-4 win against Princeton's Sage Palmedo, currently ranked no. 6 in US senior women's saber. Both Lainoff and Lew suffered a series of hard 5-4 losses, losing a cumulative nine bouts 5-4.

            Sophomore foilist Sarah Pak is ranked 17th going into the second day of competition, after beating both of Harvard's foil fencers as well as Ashley Tsue from Princeton. Freshman Anna Zhou also bested Harvard's foil squad, and notched an impressive four points against current fourth-place seed, Iman Blow of Columbia.

            Yale is currently in 12th place with 48 points. Last year the Yale men and women's cumulative score resulted in a 17th place finish.  

            Yale women's fencing will start round 4 at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. The semifinals and finals will be live streamed on ESPN starting at approximately 1:30 p.m.