2014 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS – Men’s Epee (capsule preview)
By Jonathan Yergler (Princeton ’13)
There is no fencing competition in the world quite like the NCAA Championships.
It’s hard enough to even get invited to the dance. Frequently, a few of the top fencers are eliminated at Regionals either by the cutthroat competition from other schools or by the relative success of their teammates (each school is allowed to send only two fencers per weapon, per gender). I narrowly snagged a spot from a few of my good friends and teammates each year I was at Princeton and even had to qualify through our region’s at-large spot in my 2012 individual championship run.
The NCAAs places all of the pressure of a team event onto the shoulders of a select few competitors in each weapon, with the title aspirations for some schools hinging on every single bout. It cuts the margin for error down to contentious five-touch bouts and forces the fencers up against the steepest competition they face on the college circuit all year. Just to make sure that a fencer can’t just get on a roll and ride one good day to victory, the competition is split across two days.
All it takes is one loss, one bad bout, to dash any competitor’s chances of competing in the final rounds. Every year, great fencers break under that pressure, losing their composure and falling apart over the course of the grueling 23 bout round-robin.
It’s not always the best fencer who wins this competition. NCAA tests fencers in ways that no other tournament does tactically, mentally and emotionally. My former teammate, Gram Wicas wrote an excellent piece for TheFencingCoachon some of the keys to success in this tournament that is worth a read.
Today I’m here to provide a little background on the fencers in this year’s NCAA Men’s Epee event. Let me start by saying that these are not my predictions. Almost any one of these guys could win the competition under the right circumstances and it will be fun to see how this all plays out in the always hotly contested men’s epee event. But I’ll leave such predictions to bolder and more foolhardy fencing writers than me. 😉
You never know, this information might be helpful when you are ranking the competitors for your Fantasy Fencing roster on fantasyfencing.net. If you haven’t already, you should check it out. It’s looking like it’s going to be a ton of fun!
Best of luck to all the fencers competing in the Championships this weekend! You earned your chance to become an NCAA champion. Take advantage of that opportunity!
Here we go …
Click here to read the full article on collegefencing360.com.