U’s fencing club starts season with solid road meet

After an eight-year absence, The University of Minnesota fencing club has returned to collegiate competition. The team lost its connection with collegiate competition when their main contact, Wisconsin-Madison, lost its varsity fencing program.
The club’s officers and new coach Cliff Iverson spent the last year reconnecting with the collegiate competitions with help from Northwestern.
The fencing club returned with a full team of 18 fencers divided into the three weapons: foil, epee’, and saber (six fencers per weapon, three women and three men).
Minnesota competed in the East vs. West Regional Meet at Northwestern University on February 5.
It was the first year of collegiate coaching for Cliff and Melissa Iverson, and 11 out of 18 of the fencing club members had little more than a year’s experience fencing.
But despite their relative inexperience, the team fenced with determination against the more experienced teams of Northwestern, Purdue, Case Western Reserve, Chicago, Lawrence and Notre Dame.
Even with its lack of experience, the team met with remarkable success.
The women’s team had an overall score of three wins and three losses. That includes a 9-0 win for the women’s foil against Lawrence and another 9-0 victory for women’s saber against Chicago.
Although the women’s team suffered a loss to Notre Dame, women’s foilist Rachel Covault went 3-0, and women’s saberist Christina Larson scored 2-1 in their bouts against the varsity fencers.
The men’s epee’ team had a 6-3 win against Case Western, and the Men’s saber team had a 5-4 win against Purdue.
While the men’s foil team did not secure a win, foilist Justin Rasmussen had a 2-1 record against the Notre Dame men who were surprised by the success of the nonvarsity Minnesota club.
Because of its long absence, the Minnesota fencing club was invited on a probationary status to see how they would measure up against the other teams. The results of this last tournament gives an optimistic view of the club’s future. Many of the other teams expressed an interest in competing with the fencing club again.
The next collegiate competition for the fencing club will be the Midwest Fencing Conference NCAA Championships on March 4 and 5 at Notre Dame.
–From local press release