Jan. 25, 2003
by Whitney Sado
Pampered by the perpetually pleasant Palo Alto weather, Stanford athletes tend to not take temperatures of nine degrees Fahrenheit too well. So the Cardinal fencing team was none too pleased when it arrived in State College to face both the bitter cold and a field that included the host school, defending NCAA champions, Penn State.
Yet the Cardinal emerged successfully from last weekend's tournament, defeating four teams, including perennial powerhouse Pennsylvania, while losing only to Penn State.
The Stanford men's team blew out Hunter College 22-5, North Carolina 20-7 and Duke 18-9, while earning a very respectable 16-11 win over a strong Penn team. The men's record for the weekend was 4-1, with the only loss coming against Penn State 11-16.
"Penn State has won something like 13 of the past 14 NCAA championships, and is favored to do so again this year," sophomore epeeist Ken Jung said. "Obviously it was disappointing to lose to them, but they have outstanding squads in all three weapons - that's why they're No. 1."
The women struggled more than the men did, finishing the weekend with a 1-4 record.
The Cardinal's lone victory came against Hunter College, which the Stanford women crushed 22-5. Duke and UNC both eked past Stanford by a 14-13 margin, and the Cardinal women had another close match against Penn, with Stanford falling 15-12. The match against Penn State was a little more lopsided, as the Nittany Lions won 19-8.
The generally close margins on the women's side allowed Stanford to pull ahead in the overall standings because the scores of the men's team and the women's team are combined under NCAA rules. That allowed Stanford to take overall victories over Penn, Hunter, UNC and Duke.
"The overall result was great," an exuberant head coach Lisa Milgram said.
The most impressive performances of the weekend were put on by the men's and women's foil squads, which both emerged undefeated on the weekend. The men's epee squad was also strong, going 4-1 while falling to Penn State by only one bout.
Individually, Jung put on a courageous show, posting a 9-6 record despite having an injured back. Freshman sensation Martin Lee, currently ranked fourth in the nation in the junior men's epee category, led the epee squad with a 12-3 record
Foilists sophomore Steve Gerberman (14-1) and juniors Florian Reichling (13-2) and Mark Mulholland (12-3), dominated opponents all weekend - including Penn State - indicating that the Cardinal men's foil team is truly a force to be reckoned with.
"The men's foil squad was generally outstanding, with Steve Gerberman and Florian Reichling each fencing wonderfully, and team captain Mark Mulholland, the emotional leader of the team, having a very good day," Jung said.
On the women's side, both junior Iris Zimmerman and freshman Eva Petschnigg went undefeated, each finishing 15-0 for the weekend. Junior Meghan Everett was also impressive with a 12-3 record, going undefeated against Hunter, Penn, UNC and Duke, while falling only to Penn State.
Both Gerberman and Lee will be out of the country this weekend competing in their weapons' respective Junior World Cups. Stanford's next competition will be held at Duke on Feb. 8.