Trio Readies for NCAA National Championship

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Lauren Miller. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Third National Appearance for Lauren Miller

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—Three members of the Yale women's fencing team—freshman Joanna Lew, sophomore Katherine Miller and junior captain Lauren Miller—will represent the Bulldogs at the Mar. 20-23 NCAA National Championship.

The trio has been busy preparing for the tournament, which is hosted this year by Ohio State at the French Field House in Columbus, Ohio, since they learned of their selection by the NCAA last Tuesday. The NCAA advanced a total of 144 fencers across all weapons to the national contest on the basis of their performance during the regular season and at their respective regional competitions.

All three of Yale's qualifiers posted strong performances at the NCAA Northeast Regional, which took place on Mar. 9 at Wellesley in Wellesley, Mass. 

Lauren Miller qualified in fourth place amongst northeast fencers for the national competition after capturing sixth place in foil at the regional contest this year. She will bring with her considerable experience fencing at the nation's highest level: last year she finished 13th, while the previous year she finished in seventh place at the NCAA National Championship. 

"I couldn't be more excited to attend NCAAs next week with Joey Lew and Katherine Miller—more Yale women fencers than I have ever been to NCAAs with!" she said. "This tournament will be an exciting end to a great season where our team improved on last year's performances at every single meet. I'm honored to represent my team for the third time and am hoping to improve on my previous performances."

Katherine Miller, meanwhile, qualified in seventh place from the northeast after an 11th-place finish in epee at the regional contest. 

"I'm excited and nervous, the way I always feel before a big competition. The timing is definitely nice though, having two weeks without classes to prepare, so I'm practicing a lot at my home club, the Fencers Club, where I've also been coming pretty regularly this semester when I can manage to get to New York for a night of practice," she said. "I'm very excited to represent Yale with a few of my teammates next week. It's definitely going to be really tough, but no matter what, I think it'll be a memorable experience."

The NCAA National Championship is not the only major fencing meet Katherine Miller has coming up. Less than a month after the NCAA contest, she will represent Brazil at the Junior World Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. 

Lew advanced to the NCAA National Championship in ninth place for the northeast after finishing ninth in saber at the NCAA Northeast Regional. Her qualification for the national contest bodes well for the future strength of the Bulldogs.

"Going into NCAA championships I hope to have some strength factor upsets," Lew said. "Anybody can beat anybody on any given day, and I'm looking forward to having my shot."

The contingent of three women's fencers heading to the nationals is Yale's highest in recent years: last year two members of the women's fencing team advanced, while the year before Lauren Miller was the sole fencer to qualify. 

At the NCAAs, fencers will compete in a round-robin format of five-touch bouts. At the conclusion of the round-robin, the top four finishers in each weapon will compete in a semifinal of 15-touch bouts to determine the final rankings.

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

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