Sophomore Felicia Sun earned two wins during day one of the 2011 NCAA Fencing Championship Saturday (photo courtesy Gil Talbot).
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The women's portion of the 2011 NCAA Fencing Championship began Saturday, and by day's end, Harvard had three athletes in the top two of their respective weapon's standings, putting them within striking distance of a national title heading into Sunday.
Junior co-captain and defending national champion Caroline Vloka rebounded from a 15th-place finish at the NCAA Northeast Region championship March 13 to top of the women's sabre standings at the national championship two weeks later. Vloka raked in 13 victories Saturday and scored 67 touches with a +37 scoring index, falling just once to Ivy League rival Eliza Stone of Princeton, who finished day one in second place behind Vloka with 12 wins.
Freshman Alexandra Kiefer grabbed 12 wins to finish Saturday tied for first in the foil event with 2008 Olympian and two-time national champion Doris Willette of Penn State. Both fencers went 12-2 on day one. Kiefer landed more touches than Willette in 14 bouts, 66-65, but Willette had the better scoring index (+38 to +31). The two will face each other Sunday in the final portion of the round-robin format. Kiefer defeated Willette in January at the St. John's Super Cup.
Junior Noam Mills, a two-time runner-up at the NCAA Fencing Championship, found herself in a familiar postition Saturday, looking up at the leader in the women's epee competition. Mills won 12 bouts to sit in a tie for second place after day one, trailing Notre Dame's Courtney Hurley by one victory. Mills and Hurley will go head-to-head Sunday in the second session of round-robin play.
Sophomore Felicia Sun wrapped up day one with two victories in the women's epee. Sophomore Katherine Chou earned seven wins and is currently 15th after the first day.
The second portion of the round-robin, team scoring format will conclude Sunday. The top four finishers in each weapon will move on to the medal rounds, with semifinals and finals of 15-touch bouts determining the individual national champions. Watch the action live from Ohio State beginning at 9:30 a.m. on ncaa.com.