This past weekend, Saturday Feb. 25 and Sunday, Feb. 26, Lawrence University concluded a successful season when they finished third in the Midwest Fencing Conference Championships (MFCC) at Ohio State University. The event had individual and team-based only competition with 22 fencing teams from 22 universities compete in men’s and women’s foil, épée and sabre in two days. This was the first year having full-time head coach Michael Hall.
Both Lawrence’s men’s and women’s teams took fifth place overall, which combined, translated into third place in the MFCC team standings. With 1,270 points overall, this was an improvement from their fourth place finish last season. The host team from Ohio State University won the championships with 1,605 points, while University of Michigan came second with 1,360 points total.
In the men’s foil competition, Lawrence’s foil team led the way by finishing third place. Senior Kai Krame and sophomores Nathan Schlesinger and Jack Calkwood teamed up to defeat Denison University and Indiana University-Bloomington to qualify for the semifinals. However, the Vikings fell to the University of Illinois and had to compete with Case Western Reserve University for third place. On the third-place match, Calkwood won a clutch final bout that helped the Vikings to beat Case Western Reserve 5 to 4.
In the men’s épée competition, Christopher Barr, William Henry, Jakub Nowak and Connor Schurr teamed up to beat Case Western Reserve University and Michigan State University to reach semifinals. Unfortunately, they fell to University of Chicago in the semifinals. In the third-place match, University of Michigan took down Lawrence 5-3, the team finished fourth, 3-places higher than last year.
In the men’s sabre competition, Lawrence successfully defeated Bowling Green State University before losing to Indiana University- Bloomington in the first round, placing 13th overall.
In total, the men’s team placed fifth in the man MFCC team standings. Jakub Nowak held the best result for the Vikings fencing team with 60% win-rate in his bouts.
The women’s team finished in fifth place, improved from their sixth place last season. Junior Natalie Hagopian continued pacing the Lady Vikes with 57% win-rate this season.
Woman’s foilists Ariana Colderon-Zavala, Natalie Hagopian and Kimberly Krawzak defeated Michigan State University and only fell to Wayne State University in the quarterfinals. Later, the Vikings beat Case Western Reserve University 5-1 in the consolation bracket but lost to Cleveland State University in the fifth-place match.
For épée competition, freshman Carson Becker, sophomore Jasper Olsen, senior Lauren Phillips and fifth-year Annabelle Tsai teamed up to blank McKendree University in the first round to advance to the quarterfinals. However, they fell to Michigan State University and had to battle in the consolation match. The squad topped Purdue University 5-2 and Case Western Reserve University 5-0 to place fifth overall. This result was a huge improvement for Annabelle Tsai and the épée women’s team from last year.
For women’s sabre, freshmen Allison Kim and Rebecca Tibbetts and junior Erin Paxson took down Indiana University-Bloomington but were stopped by Ohio State University in the quarterfinals. The Lady Vikes then managed to defeat Purdue University 5-4 in with many close bouts and successfully blank Michigan State University 5-4 to gain the fifth place.
In the Individual competition, sophomore Nathan Schlesinger and junior Joe Davis paced Lawrence. Schlesinger won three consecutive bouts with a dominant score 15-8, 15-5 and 15-4 to reach the quarterfinals. In the quarterfinals, he lost to Ohio State’s Stas Sudilovsky 15-8 to place sixth in foil. Competing in sabre, Davis beat Dylan Tallman 15-0, Khalid Abdi-Haleem 15-8 and Michael Karpinski 15-10. However, he also fell in the quarterfinals, 15-3 to Ohio State’s Fredrick Koch.
On the women’s side, Kim placed fourteenth to lead Lawrence, while junior Natalie Hagopian and Paxson each placed fifteenth in their events. Both were able to reach the round of 16, improving their placement from last year’s competition.
After this competition, we can see how strong the competitors have become within a year and how impact head coach Hall has affected to the team. The Vikings Fencing team will return to action on March 11 for the NCAA Regional qualifiers in Detroit. With the current fighting spirit, the fencing team can do much greater in the qualifiers.