Women Set for 2012-13 Fencing Season

Robyn Shaffer. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Robyn Shaffer. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Adds Four Talented Freshmen

NEW HAVEN, Conn. —  The Yale women's fencing team, bolstered by the addition of four freshmen, is poised to match or repeat last year's performance as it enters its 2012-13 season.

Captained by senior Robyn Shaffer, who successfully led the team last year, the Bulldogs will open their account with the Nov. 3-4 Garret Open, hosted by Penn State in State College, Pa. That competition will be followed almost a month later with the Dec. 2 Brandeis Invitational, held in Waltham, Mass. 

The Bulldogs will break after the Brandeis Invitational until a Jan. 19 home matchup against Sacred Heart and the Jan. 27 NYU Invitational in New York. Along with a Feb. 2 bout against Vassar in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., these competitions will provide Yale a good lead up to the Feb. 9-10 Ivy League Championships.

On the basis of the Ivy League Championships, Yale's fencers will look to advance to the Mar. 10 NCAA Northeast Regional and then to the Mar. 21-24 NCAA National Championship.

"I think the upcoming season will be a learning experience, and we will try to learn as much as possible before the culmination of the season, the Ivy League Championships," said Head Coach Henry Harutunian. "We are now putting all of our efforts into improving the level of the men's and women's teams so when we get to the championship, we will perform our best, and so we can try to qualify people for NCAAs."

At last year's Garret Open, Shaffer provided the highlight for Yale's first weekend of fencing as she finished in 12th place. The Bulldogs then put up a 2-3 record at the Brandeis Invitational, which included solid victories against Brandeis and MIT.

Yale will look to match or repeat those performances as it enters the 2012-13 season. The two fall competitions will enable the fencers to hone their skills and ready themselves for the string of competitions in the spring.

All these efforts will be ably supported by a talented crop of new fencers, who join the Bulldogs not only from America but also abroad. 

Two New Yorkers—Katherine Miller and Jin Ai Yap—will contribute their skills to the foil and epee squads, respectively. From across the pond, Katharine Spooner, who hails from London, will also join the epee squad without prior experience. The three freshmen will combine with Shaffer, junior Alison Barton, and sophomores Maryne Dijkstra and Margaret Kandel in epee competition.

And the saber squad will be bolstered by the addition of Maria Martinez, who comes to the Bulldogs from San Juan, Puerto Rico. The saber squad, led by senior and former captain Madeline Oliver, also includes juniors Lucy Partman and Brenda Seah and sophomore Rachel Hayes.

The foil squad, meanwhile, will feature juniors Emily Hong and Linda Zhou, and sophomore Lauren Miller, who finished in seventh place at the NCAA National Championship.

The Nov. 3-4 Garret Open will provide an exciting opportunity for this new-look team to come together in competition for the first time and fine-tune for the season ahead.

Report filed by James Lu '14, Yale Sports Publicity.