WEST POINT, N.Y. - The Haverford College women's fencing team equaled the best finish in program history at the 86th National Intercollegiate Women's Fencing Association (NIWFA) Championships hosted by Army this past Saturday. The Fords won the Division III team championship and placed second overall of the 17 participating teams, finishing only behind eighth-ranked Temple University. Haverford previously placed second at the NIWFA championships in 2008.
Temple was almost upset in the epee by the Fords, who at the end of the day were a mere three out of 48 five-touch bouts behind the Owls. The Haverford epee squad only lost four bouts all day, while Temple lost only one--to Fords senior co-captain Sarah Sofia. Sofia finished the team rounds with a 15-1 record, leading all fencers on the day, and was seeded first in the individual rounds. Fellow senior co-captain Katie Elbert was close behind with a 14-2 record in the foil, and classmate Shannon Horn scored a 10-6 record in sabre.
The foil squad (pictured) and sabre squad both finished in fourth place, locking in the team victory for the D-III category and placing the Fords just behind Temple for the overall league win. Qualifying to the individual rounds, in addition to team titans Sofia, Elbert, and Horn, were epeeists Juliana Petersen, who won the "B" slot with a 15-1 record, and Alexis Auer, finishing second in the "C" slot, as well as foilist Leila Braun. Braun finished 14th in the foil individual, after a narrow loss to Stevens Institute's Caroleen Chen, while Katie Elbert battled all the way to fourth place after a loss to Temple's Epiphany Georges, the eventual foil champion. In the sabre, Shannon Horn trounced Army's Darcy Parks, but then lost a controversial match to Rutgers University's Holly Barszcz and finished in sixth place.
For the epee individual, Sofia was unable to overcome Temple's Noel Baptiste and finished in sixth. Sophomore Petersen provided a measure of revenge however by squashing Baptiste 15-12. Battling all the way to the gold-medal bout, Petersen garnered the silver medal after suffering a narrow loss to Temple's Chantal Montrose.
The Fords will compete next Saturday in Easton, Pa., at the NCAA Regionals hosted by Lafayette College.