The men’s and women’s fencing teams finished their seasons at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Mid-Atlantic/South Regional Championships in Durham, N.C. on March 8. Several Blue Jays on both teams placed in the top 20 in their respective events.
Starting on the women’s side, the trio of sophomore Erika Wong and freshmen Alexandra McDonald and Delphine Tan placed in the top five of Division-III (D-III) fencers in the foil. McDonald placed 17th out of 36 fencers and first amongst all D-III fencers in the event. Wong finished five spots higher overall than she did last year, earning her third place in the foil for all D-III fencers at the event, and Tan followed right behind, taking fourth out of the D-III pool.
In the epee, junior Shaina Morris came out of the tournament finishing 19th overall and first among those in D-III. For the first time in her career, Morris cracked the top 20 at the regional finals. Senior Shivani Bisen and freshmen Alexandra Szwec and Rachel Zhang took sixth, eighth and ninth respectively in the same event for D-III fencers.
The senior duo of Alicja Tomaszewski and Erin Chen represented the Jays in the sabre. Tomaszewski finished 16th overall to finish in the top 20 for the first time in her career, which also earned her the top spot among D-III participants. Chen came right behind her classmate, finishing in second among D-III fencers and 19th overall.
The season’s end marks the end of several successful careers, but the beginning for the returning members. Bisen concludes her career ranking seventeenth among all weapons and fifth in the epee with 186 wins.
Tomaszewski finished her time at Hopkins with 249 career wins for fifth all time. The senior standout Chen capped her incredible four seasons winning 364 matches, which is more than any male or female fencer in the history of Hopkins fencing. McDonald and Wong both finished the season with 57 wins, while Morris now has a total of 231 wins, good enough for eighth all time.
The men’s side found similar success. Two Hopkins fencers competed in the foil, and both performed admirably. Junior Eashan Gupta tied for 22nd overall, while sophomore Noah Park finished two places behind his teammate to finish 24th out of the 36 fencers in the weapon. Gupta’s performance also earned him the number-two finish among all D-III fencers at the event.
Freshmen Jeffrey Wang and Jack Werrell, along with senior Tiger Gao, represented Hopkins in the epee. Wang finished 18th overall and third in D-III. Werrell and Gao finished in ninth and tenth places for D-III respectively.
The sabre featured four Hopkins fencers on the male side. Freshman David DeScherer came out of the event finishing 14th overall, and his classmate Sachin Mehta finished five spots behind at 19th, which was second and third for D-III fencers, respectively. Sophomores Eryk Kokosinski and Paul Lam weren’t far behind their younger teammates, and took the seventh and eighth spots among D-III fencers.
Gao finishes his Hopkins career with 254 wins, which is third in program history for the epee and 12th overall. Mehta ends his first season at Hopkins with the most wins overall with 66. No freshman had led the team in wins since 2015.
Wang finishes his season leading the team in wins in the epee with 57. Gao was the last freshman to lead in wins in the epee during his 74-win 2016-2017 season.
Wang expressed his gratitude in achieving this feat and having Gao for guidance during his first year on campus.
“Tiger [Gao]’s been more than a mentor; he’s also been an inspiration,” Wang said. “He taught me how the college fencing system worked, what I should expect and helped me to prepare for it.... It was great to practice and compete alongside someone I look up to.”
Looking forward to the future, Wang mentioned his hopes for a stronger team performance next season.
“This year we had a lot of unfortunate injuries, resulting in people being out for anywhere from half to near the entire season. We’re also losing a lot of strong fencers with this graduating class, but knowing how hard the team works, I’m certain we can fill that void,” said Wang.
The men’s team finished with a .500 record with a 17-17 record, while the women’s team finished 19-9. Both teams now have the off-season to look forward to as this year’s season comes to an end, but the teams can hold their heads high after strong final showings.