Just 11 days ago, the men’s and women’s fencing squads competed at NYU’s Jerome S. Coles Sports Center and came back to Morningside Heights with perfect 5-0 records in what were easily their best team performances of the season.
The Lions are hoping to continue that strong play when they return to Greenwich Village Thursday afternoon to compete in the Historical Meet Plus, where they will take on host NYU as well as Vassar and Sacred Heart.
The meet will offer Columbia a final opportunity to prepare for this weekend’s Ivy League Championships at Harvard—the most important team competition of the year.
Due to the extremely short period between the two meets, the Light Blue, which is expected to dominate the competition, will not field its top roster.
Although the Lions have competed in just four official meets this season, many of the team’s top fencers have competed individually at a number of national and international competitions throughout the season and could use some well-deserved rest. To that end, head coach Michael Aufrichtig gave his starters the option to choose how much they will fence, if at all, during the meet.
“Some of the athletes said they want to fence three bouts instead of all nine, and others opted to just rest their bodies,” Aufrichtig said. “The nice thing is it’s allowing some of our other fencers a chance to fence a lot.”
The meet also offers the Lions another chance to improve their in-competition communication, something the team has emphasized since its four-day fencing camp during the final week of winter break. Effective communication could prove especially crucial at the championship, which is an extremely loud, intense, and stressful environment.
“In preparing for Ivies, we’re working more and more on communication with the team, communicating with each other, communicating strategy about opponents they are fencing and how to keep everybody in positive moods,” Aufrichtig said.
The first bouts of the competition will begin at 5 p.m.