The Columbia fencing team wrapped up the women’s half of the 2014 NCAA Championships on Friday. Sophomore Jackie Dubrovich earned the honor of first-team All-American by finishing third in foil, but Columbia as a team sits in ninth.
Dubrovich began the first day of fencing with 13 victories in her first 15 bouts. Her outstanding performance landed her in Friday’s final four.
“You have to take it one point at a time, instead of focusing on winning each bout,” Dubrovich said of the grueling first stretch. “It’s a very physically demanding day, so you have to be prepared.”
Dubrovich fell 6-4 to Notre Dame’s Madison Zeiss in the women’s foil semifinals, where she had defeated Zeiss a year ago en route to a second-place finish.
“We fence each other a lot, both on the collegiate and the national circuit. With her, it’s a very physical bout,” Dubrovich said. “It was very difficult because I’m not in the best of shape because of an injury, and it’s hard when I’m not in the best shape to perform.”
“She’s first-team All-American, and third is still fantastic,” head coach Michael Aufrichtig said. “A lot of schools would be very excited to be having someone finish third, and we have high expectations. Our athletes want to win.”
The women’s final rounds of all weapons saw teammates battling each other for the gold. Zeiss fell to teammate and defending NCAA champion Lee Kiefer in the women’s foil championship round, while both Harvard’s Adrienne Jarocki and Vivian Kong of Stanford faced one of their own en route to their championship titles in sabre and épée, respectively.
Dubrovich’s performance was the highlight for the Light Blue on the first two days of competition. First-year Mason Speta pulled off eight victories in her 23 bouts, finishing in 21st place, while sophomore Sarah Yee finished 24th in sabre. First-year Sara Taffel posted 11 hard-fought wins in foil to finish 15th.
“There were a couple of bouts that she knows she could have won, but it was a new competition for her,” Aufrichtig said of Taffel. “I continue to have great expectations for her over her next three years.”
The Light Blue’s final place in the standings will be determined by adding its point total so far to the points it earns in the men’s portion of the competition, which begins Saturday.