Decker and Burns Hold Their Own at NCAA West Regional
La Jolla, CA – UC San Diego played host to 2010 Western Regional Fencing NCAA Qualifiers this past Saturday. As usual, Caltech was touted as an underdog against other schools with much stronger programs. Rounding out the field was Stanford, UCSD, and Air Force. Caltech sent six athletes to the event. Senior Eric Mintun (7th place) had a strong showing in men's epee as did Aaron Wilkowski (11th) and Junior Anson Lam (12th) who also fenced well. Unfortunately only three qualify from a field of 12 nationally ranked fencers. Senior Sarah Hunt (8th) fought tough against a strong woman's foil group as well.
The stand out performances came in Woman's sabre from Juniors Vanessa Burns (3rd) and Laura Decker (2nd). Burns, who also missed out qualifying for NCAA National Championships last year by one touch at Stanford, lost to Decker to reach the gold medal bout. It was a rematch of the first round bout earlier in the day when Burns defeated Decker 5-1 and giving Decker her only loss of the round. Decker, seeded 2nd after the first round by 3 touches to Air Forces Heather Nelson defeated Burns earning not only a rematch with Nelson, whom she beat in the first round 5-2, but also the first NCAA qualification for a Caltech fencer in 5 years. Decker lost the gold medal to Nelson, the only A rated and nationally ranked fencer in the field. However, it was a well fenced bout and Decker fenced well against an obviously frustrated Nelson. Burn's defeated UCSD's Alicia Trigeiro 15-14 for the bronze medal. Trigeiro beat Burns last year and was the only qualifier to NCAA's from Southern California.
Congratulations to all Caltech fencers for a great showing.
UPDATE 3/16/2010 -
The NCAA has just announced the field of 144 (72 men and 72 women)
that will compete in the 2010 National Championships at
Harvard University beginning on March 24 thru 28. Caltech's
Laura Decker has qualified and will compete in the women's sabre click here for complete meet