STANFORD, Calif. - The NCAA West Regionals will take place Saturday, March 7 in Pasadena, Calif. with 17 Stanford fencers qualifying for the event.
“We are looking pretty good right now and everyone is training hard,” said sophomore Alexander Massialas. “I think we are going to have a pretty good shot at qualifying a bunch of people for nationals.”
Caltech will host the NCAA West Regionals at the Braun Gym. Joining Stanford will be Air Force, Caltech and UC San Diego. Stanford fencers had a tremendous amount of success against the three schools earlier this season at the Western Invitational on The Farm.
“Facing all those teams at the Western Invitational was a good indicator of how good we can do at regionals,” said Massialas. “That gives us a lot of confidence going in to Saturday because we beat all those teams. I have a lot of faith in all the members of our team.”
The regionals will determine the qualifiers for the NCAA Championships March 20-23 at Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio. The top two from each weapon will automatically qualify for NCAA’s while several could also potentially earn at-large bids. Stanford men enter ranked No. 10 while the women are the top vote getter outside the top 10. Also receiving votes on the men’s side is UC San Diego.
Of the 17 Cardinal fencers who qualified, there are eight women and nine men. Last year at UCSD, Stanford swept the regional titles, winning all six weapon groups for men and women. Since 2009 Cardinal fencers have won 21 of the 30 regional championships, including the women’s epee five straight years and both men’s sabre and women’s foil four of the last five.
The women’s foil will kickstart the action at 9 a.m. An injury to the two-time defending regional champion Lily McElwee will keep her out of competition. Without McElwee in the lineup, Stanford qualified junior Julia Klepner and freshman Eliza Klyce to try and extend the Cardinal streak to four straight years in the event. Klepner won a regional title in 2012, but it was in sabre. She has filled in to the lineup in foil this year and gone 13-44. Klyce was 26-31 in her first season, but was 7-2 against the teams who will be at regionals.
The men’s epee team enjoyed a resurgent 2014 season and will be showcased at 9 a.m. Fencing for Stanford will be Jake Harbour, Ben Riviere and Paul Riviere. Harbour is a two-time West Regional champion, winning last year and in 2011. He also took fifth in 2012. He is 26-17 this year. Ben Riviere, a freshman, is 33-15 in his first collegiate season. He had tremendous success the first weekend, going 11-1 with an 8-1 mark against the three teams he will see this weekend. Paul Riviere was undefeated that first weekend and has a team-best 35 wins on the year compared to just 13 losses. He finished sixth in last year’s regional in his hometown of San Diego.
Rounding out the morning session will be the women’s sabre at 9:30 a.m. with Sophomore Avery Youngblood, freshman Alexa Rohan and freshman Stephanie Wang qualifying for the Cardinal. Youngblood will try and repeat as champion. She compiled a 34-19 mark during the regular season. Rohan posted a 42-11 record in her first season and was 8-1 against opponents she will see this weekend. Wang also had a winning record at 29-25 for the season.
The afternoon will start out with the women’s epee at 1 p.m. Competing for Stanford will be senior Francesca Bassa, sophomore Vivian Kong and freshman May Peterson. Bassa will attempt to win her fourth regional championship after finishing first last year, in 2011 and in 2010. She posted an incredible 48-6 record during the regular season. Bassa will have stiff competition from her teammate Kong who has been fencing will internationally. Kong led Stanford with a 50-7 record this year and placed second to Bassa last season at the regionals. Peterson will make her first postseason appearance after compiling a 32-25 mark in her freshman season.
Also at 1 p.m. will be the men’s foil. Stanford’s largest contingent will be in this event with Sophomore Alexander Massialas and Justin Lee and freshmen Stephen Aman and James Manson all qualifying. Stanford sends four despite its All-American Turner Caldwell missing competition due to injury. Massialas, the returning West Regional Champion, has only lost twice in 2014. He is 22-2 and has only allowed 31 touches in his 24 bouts. Lee had the next best win total at 33-15, but will be making his first regional appearance after not qualifying last year. Aman and Manson are also newcomers to the postseason, but Aman went 29-10 during the regular season and Manson was 21-12.
The final weapon to compete will be men’s sabre. Two fencers will wear the Cardinal red, including Dan McHugh and Daniel Wolfson. David Beam would have qualified, but an injury will keep him out. Wolfson won the regional last year and will try and repeat after going 24-18 this year. McHugh will challenge following his 21-19 campaign, but he has only faced fencers from Caltech.
NCAA West Regional
Saturday, March 7
Schedule of Events
9 a.m. – Women’s Foil
9 a.m. – Men’s Epee
9:30 a.m. – Women’s Sabre
1 p.m. – Women’s Epee
1 p.m. – Men’s Foil
1:30 p.m. – Men’s Sabre
There is no cost to attend the event. There will be a video stream of the event on the Caltech uStream page. The stream will focus on two strips next to each other. No audio commentary (other than ambient sound) will be available.