Northampton, MA — Brown Fencing emerged victorious this past Saturday from their first meet of the season, the Big One, an annual individual meet held at Smith College. The Bears faced over 15 opponents from throughout the northeast, including schools that they will compete against in the Northeast Fencing Conference (NFC). Brown fencers took three out of the six gold medals awarded, and finished the day with 11 medals in total. This finish edged out Sacred Heart, who placed second with 11 medals but only one gold, as well as MIT, who tallied 10 medals, including one gold.
The three gold medal performances belonged to sophomore Christine Whalen (San Juan Capistrano, CA) in the women's saber, junior Nick Deak (San Diego, CA) in the men's saber and senior captain Cory Abbe (Scappoose, OR) in the women's epee. This is Abbe's second consecutive gold at the Big One, and she defended her title fiercely, taking out MIT's Mounica Paturu, 15-13, in the finals. Deak and Whalen both improved upon last year's performances, when they finished fifth and seventh in their events, respectively. Deak won a decisive, 15-9, final bout over Adam Mandel of Brandeis, while Whalen took out last year's champion, Robin Shin of MIT, 15-12.
In the epee, rookie Simon Jones (Louisville, CO) took eighth place for the men, while junior Laney Caldwell (Indian Springs, AL) finished in fifth. Sophomore Barrett Weiss (Barrington, RI) tied for third, followed closely by rookie teammate Kyle Kennedy (Wall, NJ) in fifth. Freshman Denis Dukhvalov (Salisbury Mills, NY), tied for third in the men's saber, losing a nail biter in the semifinals, 15-14. Women's foil was also well-represented, with freshman Audrey Lee (Upper Saddle River, NJ), senior Avery Nackman (Katonah, NY), and sophomore Hannah Kolus (Burbank, CA) taking third, fourth and fifth palces, respectively. Lee and Nackman were forced to fence each other in a tight, 15-14, quarterfinal bout.
The Bears will be back in action on Saturday, November 17 at MIT for the first NFC meet of the season.