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Fencing team finishes eighth at MFC Championships

The Lawrence University fencing team competed in the Midwest Fencing Conference (MFC) Championships this past weekend at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. Competing against teams such as Ohio State, Michigan State and the University of Chicago, the Vikings finished eighth overall, as the women finished seventh and the men eleventh.

Lawrence maintained a high level of competition throughout the long weekend. “Fencing is a sport in which mental strength is arguably more important than physical strength,” said freshman Megan DeCleene. “It takes quite the group of intelligent individuals to fence as well as we did.”

The men’s team had a strong performance in the sabre and finished fourth. The men won against Bowling Green 5-0 and against Detroit Mercy 5-2. Notre Dame then beat the Vikings 5-1 in the semifinals. Finally, Cleveland State won 5-4 in the third-place match, leaving the Vikings in fourth place.

Despite losing to Wayne State 5-1 in the first round, Lawrence was also able to finish ninth in the men’s épée by defeating Michigan State 5-4, Bradley 5-1 and Illinois 5-2. Indiana University eliminated the men’s foil in the play-in round by the score of 5-4. On the individual level, junior Graham Jones took tenth place in sabre, sophomore Jacob Hodges placed 18th in foil and sophomore Moses Zarkin-Scott grabbed 24th in épée.

The women maintained a strong performance throughout the tournament. In the sabre competition, the Vikings started out strong with a 5-0 win over the University of Chicago and a 5-3 quarterfinal win against Michigan. They lost, however, 5-0 to Notre Dame in the semifinals and 5-0 against Northwestern in the third place, settling for fourth place once again.

In épée, the women beat Detroit Mercy 5-2 in the first round, before losing to Ohio State 5-0 in the quarterfinals. The Vikings then lost to Michigan 5-4 in the consolation round, but were able to rebound and beat Wayne State 5-3 to capture seventh place.

The women were also able to take eleventh place in sabre. After losing to Michigan State in the first round, Lawrence regrouped to win 5-1 against Illinois, then lost to Indiana 5-3 in the semifinals. They were then able to beat Case Western Reserve 5-3 to take 11th. On the individual level, Mariah Wilkerson took 15th in épée and Shelby Guinn took 26th in sabre.

Overall, the Vikings fencers are proud of their results. “The team had an outstanding performance overall,” says DeCleene. “From the less experienced squads to the more experienced, each team put forth tremendous effort both physically and mentally.” This week, the Vikings look forward to more challenging practices as they prepare for the Midwest Fencing Regional Championship at the University of Detroit Mercy on Saturday, March 8.