Fencing team places sixth in conference championship: Four Leopards qualify for NCAA Regionals on Saturday

Junior Bora Mutis (right) placed ninth in foil at the MAFCA championship. (Photo courtesy of Athletic Communications)

The Lafayette fencing team placed sixth out of 15 teams at the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Fencing Association (MACFA) championship on Sunday, with two men and two women qualifying for NCAA Regionals.

Four members of the men’s team placed in the top-16 of their respective disciplines.

“We just got unlucky sometimes but overall the mentality was strong going in,” senior saber Ian Miller said. “We knew our opponents and we knew what we had to do to succeed and a lot of people had really good days.”

On the foil side, junior Bora Mutis finished ninth and sophomore Yiwen Cui placed 16th, with both earning spots for NCAA Regionals. Sophomore sabers Carolyn Feigeles and Bella Moger have also qualified and will compete at regionals. Miller also praised Cui for fighting through a quadriceps injury which was bothering him in the group stage matches.

“Right now my morale is pretty high,” Mutis said. “I feel pretty confident in my ability to win and to stay focused for a short duration of time. Sometimes it can fall down to a bit more luck and it can go either way.”

Out of the 15 teams, the saber squad placed fourth, the foil squad placed sixth and the épée squad placed ninth.

Mutis said that the team finishes were disappointing, especially given how close the saber squad was from placing in the top-3, which had been one of the teams’ goals.

“They were just a few touches shy from top-3 as a team, it was really a shame to not see them finish well as a team,” Mutis said. “We definitely wanted to place top-3 as a team. Especially for saber it was a very tough loss.”

Miller, who is currently listed as an alternate for Regionals, placed 13 out of 16 in saber, which he partially attributed to “being banged up with disc herniation.”

“We lost some tough matches,” he added. “Some two 5-4 losses that if we had won just one event, we would’ve come in second overall, which is just really tough.”

Junior Jonathan Rosenblum placed 13 out of 16 in épée and qualified for individual match-ups in the process.

“Based on how you do against your match-ups at your level, you can qualify for an individual portion which comes afterwards,” Miller said. “[Rosenblum’s] usually our third guy and qualified for individuals, so that’s great for him.”

The upcoming regionals will feature five-touch bouts, something Mutis said he excelled at during the MACFA championship when he accrued only one loss and won “around 13.”

“Because it’s only five touches, anything can happen,” Mutis added. “Bouts can be more strategic and the better fencer will prevail. If luck’s on your side, it can be a little different.”

Next up for qualifying members of the team is the NCAA Regionals, hosted by Duke University tomorrow, March 7.

Jessie Grewal ’23 contributed reporting. 

About Andrew Hollander

Andrew Hollander ‘21 is the managing editor of The Lafayette. He studies psychology and Spanish.

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