Chen Wins NIWFA Sabre Title, Couch Breaks Wins Records
The Short Story: The Johns Hopkins women's fencing team placed third at the 89th National Intercollegiate Women's Fencing Association (NIWFA) Championship on Saturday. Freshman Erin Chen won the NIWFA Sabre Trophy and the Sabre squad claimed the Giorgio Santelli Trophy. In addition, senior Katherine Couch broke the program's all-weapons single-season and career wins records.
How it Happened
The Blue Jays won the Sabre competition to bring home the program's first ever Giorgio Santelli Trophy. The quartet of sophomore Shiaomeng Tse and freshmen Alicja Tomaszewski, Erin Chen and Natalie Martinez combined for a record of 45-3 to win the Sabre title.
In addition to the team trophy, Chen won the individual NIWFA Sabre Trophy after going an impressive 20-0 on the day. She finished first in the B strip with a 16-0 mark before going 4-0 in the finals competition. Tomaszewski finished first in the A strip with a 14-2 mark and then went 1-1 in the finals to finish in fifth place. Martinez went 6-0 to finish sixth in the C strip and Tse finished 10th in the C strip with a 7-1 record.
The Epee squad took home second place with a 43-5 record, finishing just one win shy of first-place Temple.Couch won the A strip with a 15-1 record and then went 1-1 in the finals to place fifth overall. Sophomore Celine Shanosky took fourth in the B strip with a 13-3 record and eventually finished in 11th place. Senior Nastasia Winey won the C strip after going 15-1 and finished in 14th place overall.
The Foil squad finished in sixth place with a 32-16 record. Freshman Katherine Xiang led the squad with a sixth place finish overall. She finished sixth in the A strip at 10-6 and then went 1-1 in the finals. Sophomore Rebecca Rosenthal placed fifth in the B strip at 11-5 and 15th overall. Junior Elizabeth Konopacki took fifth in the C strip with an 11-5 record.
What it Means
Hopkins finished in the top three at the NIWFA Championship for the ninth time overall. This was the Blue Jays' first trip to the championship since 2011. Hopkins also has five runner-up finishes.
Chen's title in the Sabre is the first by a Blue Jay since Sarah Walsh won her second straight in 2001. It is just the third ever NIWFA Sabre Trophy for a Hopkins fencer.
Chen and Martinez earn First Team All-NIWFA honors, while Couch, Tomaszewski and Xiang grab Second Team honors.
Couch ended the day with 103 wins on the season, breaking Marion Trumbull's all-weapons record of 99. She also has 294 wins in her career, breaking Jackie Heath's all-weapons record of 283.
Chen's 20 wins on the day give her 100 for the season, making her and Couch the only two fencers in program history to reach 100 wins in a season. Her 100 wins are the most by a freshman, in any weapon, in school history. She already ranks 8th in JHU history in career Sabre wins.
Tomaszewski now counts 91 wins on the season to her credit. That is tied for third most in a single-season.
Winey now ranks fourth in school history with 170 career Sabre wins. She also ranks 11th among all weapons in career wins. Shanosky is now tied for seventh with 143 career Sabre wins.
Rosenthal moved into ninth in program history with 115 career Foil wins. Xiang finished the day with 91 wins on the season, tied for the fourth most by a Foilist in a season.
Johns Hopkins will compete at the 2017 NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Regional on Saturday, March 11 in Easton, PA.