Strong effort by men's fencing at NCAA regionals

EASTON, Pa. - Seven members of the Haverford College men's fencing team competed in the NCAA 2013 Mid-Atlantic/South Regional Championships hosted by Lafayette College on Saturday.

Senior sabrist Aaron Ruby was the lone Fords' representative to crack the final round, placing seventh out of the best 36 sabre fencers in the region. Seven sabrists will qualify to the national tournament, but it is not yet clear if Ruby is in or out, due to the complicated rules governing the fencing regionals, whereby a fencer's seeding is factored back in to the fencing results to determine the qualifiers.

Ruby sits in familiar territory as he was the region's at-large bid to nationals in 2011. (He was not selected.) It is likely that this time, too, Ruby will be an at-large bid, as Princeton University's Kaito Streets, and University of North Carolina's Sam Austin, who finished just behind Ruby in the competition, have seeding factors large enough to jump over Ruby and claim the seventh qualifying spot.

Final determination on Ruby's status will be made on Tuesday, March 12, when the NCAA Fencing Selection Committee will determine the final qualifiers from all the regions.

Heartbreak lay in wait for another of Haverford's top fencers, epeeist James Nieuwland, who was edged out of the finals by one touch from Princeton's Jamie O'Donnell. Hitting Nieuwland for the winning point just as time expired, O'Donnell ended up just one spot ahead of Nieuwland's 19th-place finish.

Fencing the last tournament of their college careers, seniors Sam Levinson and Linus Marco fought hard in the first round but did not advance. Marco was forced into a medical withdrawal in his final collegiate tournament as he was injured during his bout with Duke University's Colin Colter.

The regional event caps the careers of Levinson, Marco, Nieuwland and Ben Van Son. Ruby will await Tuesday's announcement of the final qualifiers from all regions.