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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Brandeis sends three to nationals

Published: March 20, 2009
Section: Sports

This weekend Brandeis fencing will send three fencers to Penn State as they take on the best of the best in collegiate fencing. Making his fourth straight trip to the NCAA’s is captain Will Friedman ’09. Friedman is the first Brandeis fencer since Terence Gargiulo ’90 to make the NCAA’s in all four years of his eligibility. Friedman earned the eighth seed into the finals after finishing eighth at the NCAA regionals, going 4-2 in the first round and 2-2 in the second before going 5-6 in the finals. This season Friedman went 46-30 against varsity opponents and earned All-American honors last year after finishing seventh in last year’s championship.

“From an individual perspective I think my season has been fair,” Friedman said. “I think that I’ve made some improvements from last year in terms of mental and physical techniques but I also feel like I had some, a little bit of recession in different areas as well. My personal performance has been somewhat up and down and it was not as strong as I would like it to be overall.”

Joining Friedman in the men’s fencing championship is second year fencer Adam Austin ’11. Austin makes his first trip to the NCAA’s after finishing fifth in the regionals, the highest placing of the Judges’ fencers this season. After barely making the final round by one touch, Austin proceeded to go 7-4, knocking off three opponents from Columbia and one each from Vassar, Brown and Columbia. Also included in his run was a win over the regional saber champion from Harvard. This season Austin finished 43-34 against varsity competition.

“He’s grown a lot from last year,” Anna Hanley ’11 said about Austin. “I knew that he got nervous on this trip a lot and froze and didn’t know what to do, but this year he was able to gain his composure and think hard and practice harder, work a little bit harder and he won a bout against Jeff Speer. That’s amazing. Jeff Speer won the NCAA’s last year.”

Anna Hanley rounds out the NCAA trio. Hanley, a transfer from Sacred Heart University gained entry to her first NCAA Championship through the auspices of an at-large bid. Hanley finished 13th in the regionals, missing out on the final round but her strong regular season proved enough to gain entry. Among her accomplishments, Hanley finished with an astounding 77-25 against varsity opponents including 29-0 against Northeast Fencing Conference opponents. Her record was number one on Brandeis in wins and winning percentage.

“I was very surprised, I had no idea how it happened,” Hanley said about receiving the news. “I was confused for a couple of hours and then I realized that I got an at-large bid and being very excited.”

“I’m very happy for them.” Friedman said about Austin and Hanley. “I think they both worked very hard this year. They’re definitely two of the hardest workers on the entire team and Adam fenced his heart out at regionals and I’m happy that he earned a qualifying spot and I think that Anna, despite Anna letting her nerves show a bit at regionals, certainly deserves to be going to nationals. I think that she can have some great success.”

As of this printing, with the men’s rounds opening up, Brandeis is currently tied for 15th with Friedman currently in 17th place in the men’s foil but only two bout victories from entering the top ten. Austin finished his first day of NCAA competition 19th in the saber. All-American status is awarded to the top 12 fencers.