The Lawrence University Fencing Team competed this weekend at the Midwest Fencing Conference Championships at Northwestern University where, for the first time since the mid 90’s, the team snagged podium spots in several different categories.
Overall, the men’s team took second with 750 points; narrowly losing to Ohio State by 35 points. The women’s team finished in a respectable fifth place with 600 points. Combined, the Lawrence team took fourth place with a total of 1,350 points.
Before the meet the team was surprised by their seeding placements that determine who they will fence. “Our seedings were pretty mixed up; we really had to adjust to how they placed us,” says junior Jacob Hodges. “The seedings can have a really big influence on the results.”
These seedings determine who the team will face in order to progress to the finals, and therefore can be critical in determining the team’s success. The men’s team rose to the challenge however and shined in what can certainly be deemed the highlight of their year so far.
The men’s sabre contingent consisting of senior Graham Jones, junior Ian Pelton, and freshman Joe Davis took the conference title by upsetting The Ohio State in a nail-biting 5-4 semifinal decision, then moving on to defeat Michigan 5-3 in the final round.
The men’s foil group, consisting of Hodges, freshman Alden Grasse, and junior Erik Paulson, found success as well in taking second place by defeating Cleveland State 5-3 in the semifinals. The men’s epee placed fifth after defeating Wayne State 5-4 and falling to Purdue in the quarterfinals 5-3.
The women were also dealt a difficult hand in their seeding. The women’s epee defeated Iowa 5-1 to qualify for the quarterfinals, but lost to Purdue 5-2 to take fifth place. The women’s foil took seventh place by being eliminated by Northwestern, and the sabre took ninth by being defeated by Cleveland State 5-3.
Moving forward, the Lawrence fencing team looks to continue their success in the Regional tournament where many fencers will be competing to qualify for Nationals. The team will be honing their skills by focusing more on bouts, the individual fencing matches, and less on conditioning and footwork.
“We’ll be trying to make it as realistic as possible,” says Hodges. Look for the fencing team to follow the momentum they have created in the Regional meet, which will also take place at Northwestern in two weeks.