Columbia fencers most recently traveled to Minneapolis, Minn., for the USA Fencing National Championship and they didn’t disappoint.
Sophomore Margaret Lu won her third national title, defeating first-year Sara Taffel in overtime of an all-Columbia final for the Division I Women’s Foil National Championship.
Lu entered the competition as the first overall seed and breezed through two opponents before falling behind in her semifinal matchup against Notre Dame’s Madison Zeiss.
Lu rebounded from a first-period deficit to retake the lead in the ensuing session. That did not stop Zeiss from mounting a furious comeback, which ultimately fell short. Lu prevailed, 15-9, for an opportunity to claim the gold medal.
Taffel’s road to the finals was longer—she did not receive a bye—but faced less of a challenge in the semifinals. Taffel easily dispatched high-schooler Sabrina Massialas, 15-5, and carried on to build a 12-7 lead in the final against Lu. Taffel wasn’t able to get the final touch, though, and Lu tied the bout at 12 before winning in overtime.
Taffel and Lu weren’t the only Light Blue fencers to excel. First-year Michael Costin finished sixth in saber. Olympic sabrist Jeff Spear, CC ’10, and épéeist Alen Hadzic, CC ’13, earned third place in their respective events. Lydia Kopecky, CC ’13, placed seventh in women’s épée and Director of Fencing Operations Daria Schneider, CC ’10, was second in women’s saber.
The performances in Minneapolis were the end of an extremely successful month for Columbia fencing. Lu and sophomore foilist Jackie Dubrovich earned gold medals at the Junior World Championships in Bulgaria earlier this month. They were joined on the medal stands by first-year epeeist Mason Speta, who took home a silver medal, and sophomore sabrist Geoffrey Loss, who won a bronze medal.