Yale Heads to NCAA National Tournament

March 18, 2009

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Three Yale fencers will head to University Park, Pa. on Mar. 21 for the two-day NCAA National Championship. The three Bulldogs heading to Nationals are junior epeeist Rebecca Moss and freshmen foilists Katharine Pitt and Valeria Makeeva.

The tournament is a round robin competition where everyone fences each other to five touches. This takes place over two days. After those two days, competitors are ranked based on their overall record. The top four fencers will fence sudden-death direct elimination bouts to fifteen touches to decide first, second and third places. For women's epee there are twenty-four competitors representing fourteen different schools from all over the United States. The Northeast is the most highly represented region as nine of the twenty-four competitors come from schools in that area.

"For any two-day tournament endurance is a key factor," said Moss of the competition.

"The structure of this meet is particularly strenuous since five-touch bouts are very short and demand complete focus."

Moss is coming off a good performance at Regionals.

"I only lost three bouts the entire day," she said.

"I just want to try on fencing like that again. Freshman year at NCAA finals, I didn't have a lot of confidence and fenced "scared" which really limited my abilities. Sophomore year at Regionals, I lost an easy bout early on and got so frustrated I couldn't pull myself together."

This year's prospects are looking good for Moss, who took third at Regionals.

"I'm hoping this year, I'll just relax and have fun. And hopefully, in the process, make at least the top 12 and All-American." This will be the first trip to Nationals for both Pitt and Makeeva, the freshmen foilists. Pitt took fifth at Regionals while Makeeva took eighth.

Last year the Bulldogs only sent one member of the team to Nationals, captain Lidia Gocheva. Gocheva placed twenty-third overall and contributed to Yale's sixteenth-place finish.

Report filed by Dominique Fenton '10, Yale Sports Publicity

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