PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Inspired by strong representation at last year's NCAA Fencing Championships as well as the Northeast Regionals and Ivy League Round Robin Tournament, the Brown fencing team will stand en garde for the first time this season at Saturday's the Big One, the annual season-opening individual meet held by Smith College. The Bears will head to Northampton, Mass., in hopes of starting the year as strong as 2012, which saw Brown take home 11 medals and finish in first place overall at the kick-off event.
Last year's squad sent Kelly McGuire '14 and Teddy Weller '14 to the NCAA Championships in San Antonio, Texas, en route to a 10th place finish. In the absence of last season's top men's epee and saber, Brown will look to senior Nick Deak (San Diego, Calif.), who shined with a 21-2 record in Northeast Fencing Conference action to land on the NFC All-Star First Team. Deak also placed 12th at the NCAA Northeast Regionals after earning First Team All-Ivy honors for his third-place finish at the Ivy League Round Robin Tournament.
On the women's side, senior Kathryn Hawrot (Barrington, R.I.) is the top returner after placing 11th in the women's foil at Regionals. A Second Team All-Ivy performer, Hawrot went a perfect 18-0 at NFC #2 and aims to help the women's fencers improve upon last season's fourth-place Ivy showing.
Other notable returners who turned in impressive 2012-13 seasons include senior Benjamin McDonald (Woodlands, Texas), who went 7-1 in men's epee at NFC #1; sophomore Simon Jones (Louisville, Colo.), who finished 10th in men's epee at Regionals as a freshman; and senior Laney Caldwell (Indian Spring, Ala.), who placed 14th at Regionals in women's epee.
Following the Big One, the Bears host the opening NFC event at the Olney-Margolies Athletic Center on Nov. 16. Brown then travels to Brandeis University on Dec. 8 before heading to Boston College for NFC #2 on Jan. 25. The Eric Collee Invitational on Feb. 1 takes the Bears to Brandeis a second time, preparing the team to host the Ivy League Championships on Feb. 8-9.
The NCAA Northeast Regional Tournament is slated for Mar. 9 when the Bears hope to match or exceed last season's performance and send Brown fencers to this year's NCAA Championships in Columbus, Ohio, from Mar. 20-23.