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May 24, 2022

Men’s and Women’s Fencing both prevail

By ERICK SUN | February 20, 2014

Following the team’s fifth straight team EWFC Championship last weekend, the women’s fencing team returned to action in the EWFC Individuals Tournament this past weekend in Hoboken, N.J. Unlike the team event where universities were pitted against each other, this time around each fencer would be representing themselves in pursuit of individual titles.

In épée, freshman standout Katherine Couch went 14-0, becoming this season’s EWFC Épée Fencer of the Year and a spot on the First-Team All-Conference Team. Couch deftly beat third place finisher, Nieradka, from Stevens Tech 5-0. Stevens Tech won top épée squad at last weekend’s EWFC Tournament with a very strong épée squad.

“I owe my success to the people I have had the privilege of working with and to those supporting me over the years,” Couch said. “I’m proud to be on a team with such amazing coaches, captains, and teammates.

Despite stepping into a starting role in her first year on the Homewood Campus, Couch has been a consistent performer for head coach Austin Young from Day 1. On the season, Couch has gone 53-19, leading the épée team in wins.

Finishing just behind Couch in épée was junior Gianna Puzzo, who finished fourth in the tournament with a 9-5 record, and senior Liz Caris, who took home fifth place with a 9-5 record as well. Both Puzzo and Caris joined Couch on the First-Team All-Conference Team.

“Katherine has been our strongest épée fencer all year and really kept her head in a fast-paced, exhausting tournament to hold on for an undefeated win. Everyone has been working really hard; we have a tough second semester schedule. The fencing team has two-a-day practices over intersession, so we got a lot of good work in over that time which helped us to finish out the season strong,” Caris said.

In sabre, sophomore Bea So went 17-0 to take the title — the third straight year a Hopkins fencer has won the EWFC sabre title.

Women’s team captain Jackie Heath was proud of the way So and Couch have approached this season. “Both Isabella So and Katherine Couch have worked really hard this season. At practices they are both positive and focused on improving, and I think that attitude helped them enter the competition with a strong mindset and a knowledge that they could beat any of their competitors,” Heath said.

Behind So, freshman Nancy Kim finished 12th amongst the sabre. Although Kim was unable to make it onto an All-Conference team, the freshman has been somewhat of a rallying point for the entire women’s team for her tireless work ethic. Kim only just picked up the sport of fencing in the fall, but because the women’s sabre team currently fields only three fencers, she has been forced into a starting role from the get-go.

“Nancy has been put in the very difficult position of being a regular starter and also being a first year fencer. She’s surrounded by people that have fenced through high school, but she is an incredibly hard worker. She’s done so well this season and with the best attitude,” Caris said.

Not to be outdone by their counterparts in the épée and sabre, sophomore Rachel Viqueira and Heath finished second and fourth, respectively, for the women’s foil team. Viqueira won the foil title at last year’s meet, but this year her 16-1 record was just short of the 17-0 record by Klarissa Armada of CCNY. Both Viqueira and Heath made the First-Team All-Conference Team, giving Hopkins a total of six fencers earning All-Conference recognition.

As a senior, Heath was determined to put in a good effort in one of the last meets of her career. “It meant a lot to end my final season off on such a strong note,” Heath said. “It was definitely one of my goals from the beginning of this season to keep improving and to perform well against the stronger competitors in our conference. I was very happy to have achieved results this past weekend reflecting that improvement.”

On the men’s side of the strip, the Blue Jays traveled to nearby College Park to take part in the MACFA Round Robin. The team beat the Maryland, Virginia, William & Mary and Navy club fencing teams to pull their season record to 21-9, the second straight season the team has won at least 20 dual meets.

Hopkins was led by junior Aravind Menon who went 12-0 on the day for the Sabre. Overall, the Blue Jays went a combined 33-3 in the Sabre behind strong showings from freshmen Daniel Dembner and Patrick Rose. In the épée, sophomore Mark Zimmerman led the way with a 9-2 record. On the season, Zimmerman is 45-31 and has amassed 136 career wins in just two seasons. Rounding out the MACFA meet, junior Rob Goldhirsch and sophomore Glenn Balbus both went 10-2 in the Foil.

Both the men and the women will finish their seasons in March at the NCAA Regional Championships.

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