Junior Sachin Mehta capped off a successful junior campaign at the NCAA Championships this past weekend. Among Division-I competition, the junior sabrist placed 21st, the best finish in this discipline at the NCAA Championships by a Hopkins fencer since 1980.
Mehta comes out of the season with 96 wins, which is tied for sixth most in program history for most wins in a single season in the sabre.
For his spectacular efforts all season long, Mehta is this week’s Athlete of the Week.
The News-Letter: What are your main takeaways that you hope to keep with next season after performing on the biggest stage of collegiate fencing?
Sachin Mehta: I'm going to take the emotions and memories into training next year with the team to make sure we're all ready to face that tournament style again. Another takeaway from the tournament has to be the camaraderie between all the athletes. Having been fencing since middle school, I've known many of the athletes competing since we were younger, traveling to competitions around the nation and even the world.
The atmosphere, while intense, was still full of us supporting each other during our matches, joking, even just catching up and talking about how proud we were of each other to qualify and meet at this competition. During the competition, you travel with a pod of athletes from your region, and we quickly turned into a pseudo-team who cheered, fought and supported each other against other pods, and I don't think I'll ever be able to describe that amazing feeling.
N-L: Do you have any other reflections on the season, your coaches or your teammates now that your junior campaign has come to a close?
SM: This year was our first full year back to competition since COVID-19, and I was amazed at how quickly the whole team welcomed our freshmen and sophomores. This year more than ever I think our team really became closer, and I can honestly say all of them feel like a second family to me.
The level of dedication they all show up to practice with daily, since way back in the fall during captains' practices, really pushed me to work my hardest. Our coaches and assistant coaches' enthusiasm and support since I came here never faltered. They always believed in working hard to achieve excellence, no matter how long or how hard it may be to accomplish.
I'm both excited and a little sad that next year will be my final year at Hopkins. I can't wait to get back into training with them to keep working toward more success, but I am also sad that it's my last year being able to work with such great people. It's been amazing to be a part of this program with them during a period where we're seeing more success at meets than we ever have, and I hope we continue to push further.