|Senior co-captain Zoe Howard qualfied for the NCAA Regionals for the third straight year.|
MEDFORD - Columbia University will host the 2019 NCAA Northeast Fencing Regional on Sunday, March 10 at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Six Jumbos will be in action on Sunday as senior co-captain Zoe Howard and freshman Allison Cheng will compete in foil, freshman Hannah Fruitman is entered in epee and sophomore Lillie Ahearn, sophomore Su bin Jeong and junior Elliot Pavlovich are in the sabre bracket.
Howard is making her third Regional appearance for Tufts, and Pavlovich will be there for the second time. The others are taking their maiden NCAA Regional voyage. Howard advanced to the third round of the foil competition in last year's Regional at Brandeis.
Competition will begin at 10 a.m. on Sunday morning. Admission for spectators is free. Spectators will be allowed access to the facility and must stay on the outer perimeter of the field house and away from the strips.
"I know that everyone who has qualified is very excited for the meet this Sunday," Howard said. "We've had a very small team this year due to a slew of unfortunate injuries, making for a little bit of a rocky season, so it means a lot that we have six qualifiers, especially since two of them are freshmen. Our game plan is to just focus on one bout at a time, but remember that the day is a marathon, not a sprint."
Fencers from 18 teams will comprise the NCAA Northeast Regional field - Boston College, Brandeis University, Brown University, City College of New York, Columbia University-Barnard College, Cornell University, Harvard University, Hunter College, Long Island University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York University, Sacred Heart University, St. John's University, Tufts University, Vassar College, Wellesley College, Yale University and Yeshiva University.
Cheng and Howard are two of 42 entries in the NCAA Regional foil field, Fruitman is the lone Jumbo among 36 epee fencers on Sunday and Ahearn, Jeong and Pavlovich are three of 40 sabre fencers. All six Jumbos will compete in opening-round action attempting to be among the 35 fencers who will make the quarterfinals. From there, 21 will advance to the semifinals with 12 qualifying for the final.
Sunday's fencers are attempting to qualify for the 2019 NCAA Fencing Championships which will be held March 21-24 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Championships will take place at the Wolstein Pavilion on the campus of Cleveland State.
Three other Regionals will be taking place on Saturday of this weekend. The Mid-Atlantic/South is at Lafayette College, Pa., the Midwest is at Notre Dame and the West is at UC San Diego.
In Northeast Fencing Conference action this winter, both Cheng and Howard ranked among the top 10 individuals in foil. Cheng won 30 of her 36 bouts (83.3 percent) and was +99 in touches. Howard posted a 27-9 record with a +65 for touches. In epee, Fruitman had 19 wins and was +6, while Pavlovich earned 18 wins, Jeong 16 and Ahearn 13 for sabre.
"Last year at Regionals I made it into the third round of competition, so I'd love it if I made it past that this year," Howard said. "But all in all, I'm just grateful for the incredible experience with the Tufts Fencing team over my four years at Tufts and I'm equally excited and sad to compete in my final collegiate fencing meet."
Follow live results of Sunday's NCAA Northeast Regional action at https://escrimeresults.com/NCAA/NE/2019/.