By Amita Gondi
While most Stanford students were busy packing up their suitcases and running off Stanford campus, six members of the Stanford fencing team competed at the NCAA Championships, co-hosted by Cleveland State and the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission from March 21-24 in Cleveland. Stanford produced 51 points to finish 12th overall.
On the men’s side, junior Samuel Kwong represented the Cardinal in sabre, senior Sean Strong in epee and sophomore Lucas Orts in foil. For the Cardinal women, freshman Hanna Lee competed in epee, graduate student Kaleigh Mentzer in saber and sophomore Madeline Liao in foil. This young group of three men and three women were selected based off of their performances in the NCAA Regional Championships held at UC San Diego on March 10, as well as their aggregate performances over the season.
Fencers competed in a round-robin format of five-touch bouts, with the top four finishers in each weapon advancing to the semifinals. Semifinalists then vied for first and second, and non-advancers shared third place.
The Championships began with the men’s leg where Strong placed sixth in epee, while sophomore Lucas Orts finished 10th in foil. With 22 teams in the fray, Stanford accumulated 31 points to help the Cardinal finish 11th. Competing for the last time in a Cardinal uniform, Strong was named to the second-team All-American status for the second consecutive year after claiming seventh in 2018.
Orts, on the other hand, had two awards waiting for him at the Wolstein Center. Besides being an honorable mention All-American, he was named as the winner of the Elite 90 award presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average of all participants in the NCAA Championships.
The women contributed 20 points to their NCAA performance. With intense competition in every nook and corner, the Cardinal women went down fighting with Lee placing 20th in epee, while Liao and Mentzer earned 21st in foil and saber, respectively.
Stanford finished 12th overall in the team rankings with 51 points while Columbia/Barnard captured its third title in program history with 178 points in total.
With another chapter closed in Stanford’s fencing books, head coach Lisa Posthumus and her team will look for some crucial takeaways leading up to the next season.
Contact Amita Gondi at agondi ‘at’ stanford.edu.