Last Saturday, the Lafayette men’s fencing team earned a 3-2 record in their final competition before the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Fencing Association (MACFA) championships.
The College of New Jersey hosted the MACFA round-robin tournament last weekend, which saw Lafayette tally wins over the host Lions (23-3), Rutgers (22-5) and Rowan (20-7). The Leopards also suffered two close losses to Cornell (14-13) and Drew (16-11), who senior saber Ian Miller said was the team’s biggest conference rival.
“We fought strategically and well, which is what led to a good bout against both teams,” junior foil Bora Mutis said. “The best way to turn these close [losses] into exceptional wins would be to simulate some of the same emotions and adrenaline going through us at practice. The intensity will most likely never equal that of the real thing, but learning to control our nerves is a big step in the right direction.”
The three-man foil unit was highlighted by a flawless 15-0 record from sophomore Yiwen Cui, with Mutis notching a 14-1 record in his bouts and sophomore William McAlpine recording an 8-7 mark.
“From the start of the day I felt prepared to fence anybody and in any way,” Mutis said. “Whether that be a physical battle or one that moves more slowly, I had a plan against each of my opponents before the bout even started.”
The sabre duo of seniors Patrick Rekieta and Miller earned lopsided records of 14-1 and 12-3, respectively, in their bouts.
“The last two meets I’ve been focusing on actions that are working for me early on, and then sticking with them,” Miller said. “It’s all about keeping control of the pace and momentum of the bout and fencing on your terms, not the way your opponent wants you to.”
In épée, junior Jonathan Rosenblum (11-5) and freshman Grahame Ung (9-6) posted winning records while sophomore Sean Fitzgibbon went 7-8 on the afternoon.
“Coach Rupp also played a large part in this [event],” Mutis said. “He was always giving the right advice at the right time.”
Up next for both the men’s and women’s teams are the MACFA championships hosted by Drew University, where Lafayette will have a chance to avenge their loss to Cornell. Mutis said the team is hoping to place in the top three at the event.
Following the MACFA championships are the NCAA Regionals, hosted by Duke University, and the NCAA championships on March 19-22 in Detroit, for those eligible to qualify.
“[NCAA’s] are a big opportunity, but at the end of the day it’s just another competition,” Miller said. “We know our strengths and we know our weaknesses. We trust our coaching and our training, and we’ll be ready for the moment.”
Lafayette will travel to Madison, N.J., for the MACFA championships on Sunday.