Coming off a second-place finish at the Eastern Women’s Fencing Conference (EWFC) Championship, the Hopkins women’s fencing team travelled up to Philadelphia, Pa. for the Temple Invitational on Saturday, where they faced off against four top-10 teams.
While the team did not manage to win any of the matchups, sophomore Sabre Erin Chen ended the day with a 6-6 record, tied for the best on the team. Chen has consistently been the best performer for the Blue Jays since she joined the team last year.
As a freshman last year, her season was one for the record books: Chen set the single season wins record with 113 wins and only 34 losses. She has kept up the great performance this year and currently has a 71-16 record. And if she manages to keep up this record, she will have the fifth best single season winning percentage in Hopkins women’s fencing history.
The next stop for Chen and the Jays will be this weekend, as they travel to West Point, N.Y. for the National Intercollegiate Women’s Fencing Championship this weekend. Winning the same tournament last year, Chen will look to defend her title.
The team will travel after that to Easton, Pa. for the NCAA Regional Championship, where Chen will seek to improve on her eighth-place finish from last year.
The News-Letter got a chance to talk to Chen about her season so far, as well as her goals are going forward.
The News-Letter: You won your second individual Sabre EWFC Championship as a sophomore this year. What do you attribute to your success since the very start of your college career?
Erin Chen: I have been able to have this much success from the start of my college career with the support of my teammates and coaches and the benefit of being able to train daily. Being able to practice more often has definitely helped me improve after joining the team. Also, just trying to have fun while fencing has helped me perform well. I love this sport, and I try to focus on just doing my best and not worrying about the outcome.
N-L: As you look to defend your title at the NIWFA Championships this weekend, what will be key to having success again at the tournament?
EC: The first half of the tournament is a team component, so just doing my best to win bouts for the team I think will help me be successful again in the individual part of the tournament, because fencing with the support and the energy of the squad boosts my adrenaline and motivation. Hopefully that energy will ride into the individual tournament. My mindset is to not go into NIWFAs with any expectations and to just fence.
N-L: You broke the record for most wins in a year as only a freshman, and this year you have had another successful season. What differences have you noticed between last year and this year, and what challenges have you faced?
EC: I feel that I came into this year with a little more confidence in myself, which has definitely helped me perform better. One challenge I have faced this season is balancing schoolwork with fencing. Because I am a sophomore now, the workload has increased and has really tested my time management skills. But if you really love doing something, you find time for it.
N-L: Going forward, what goals do you have personally for both the end of this year and your future years at Hopkins?
EC: For the end of this year, my goal is to qualify for NCAA Championships or at least perform well at NCAA Regionals. As a Division-III school, it is difficult to qualify, but this year I have a chance, and it would be great if I could achieve this goal. In general my goals are to do my best, contribute to the team as much as possible and of course have fun.
N-L: How have the older team members helped your transition to college and how have they impacted your success?
EC: The entire team has helped me so much in transitioning to college and succeeding both on and off the strip. My favorite part about fencing is the people on the team. We are a family (a very crazy, weird one), and they are my closest friends.
N-L: What goals does the team have for the rest of the season, and what needs to be done to achieve those goals?
EC: The team goal for the rest of season is to try to win NIWFAs. Especially since we lost a close one at EWFC’s against Stevens, it would be great if we could come back and beat them this weekend.
Catch Chen as she attempts to defend her title this weekend at West Point as she and the rest of the Jays compete at the National Intercollegiate Women’s Fencing Championship.