New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

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NYU fencing sees early-season success

The Violets’ men’s and women’s fencing teams hit their strides as the season starts.
A+group+of+men+and+women+in+white+fencing+suits+and+gray+jackets+are+standing+around+a+man+in+a+purple+sweatshirt+with+the+Nike+logo.+They+are+all+standing+in+the+middle+of+a+gym+with+a+red+line+across+the+walls.
Head coach Ben Bratton addresses the NYU men’s and women’s fencing teams at the Sacred Heart Invitational. (Courtesy of NYU Athletics)

About a month into their season, both the NYU men’s and women’s fencing teams are establishing early success. Following the Sacred Heart Invitational on Dec. 3, both teams currently have a 3-2 record, with the men’s team ranking No. 1 in Division III. 

The men’s team defeated Vassar College, Sacred Heart University and the New Jersey Institute of Technology, falling only to Princeton University and The Pennsylvania State University with scores of 12-15 and 10-17, respectively. 

“The team has a lot of dependable teammates and people. I saw a lot of it this past Sunday with our close losses to Princeton and Penn State, but the team was able to fight back and support one another,” head coach of the fencing teams Ben Bratton said. “It took a bit for things to fall into place, but I am excited, and I learn a little bit everyday to get better. It’s really fulfilling.”

In his second year as head coach, Bratton has finally settled into a groove. His close relationship with the teams has made him feel more comfortable and confident in his work, which has been paying off. 

“Ben Bratton has completely transformed NYU fencing in less than two years as head coach,” senior captain Maria Stamos said. “He has brought in an amazing staff such as Aleks Ochocki, Brian Kaneshige, and Guillermo Madrigal. They are all world-class coaches with experience on the international and Olympic level.”

The team’s success can be linked not only to their strong coaching staff but also to their strong team culture that has been instilled since the start of the season. 

“Coach Ben always tells us that if we fence for ourselves, we will not succeed. We have to fence for the team,” Stamos said. 

This team mentality helped Stamos win 10-2 over the past weekend. Besides being a stellar fencer, she is also a role model for the first-years on the team.

“At the match at Sacred Heart, I would coach the girls, telling them which sectors to aim for, and hinting as to what their opponent was going to do next,” Stamos said. “When they would follow my advice and score, it felt so rewarding. While my role in the team has changed, my love for the sport has not.” 

Bratton also praised Darren Yen, a graduate student on the men’s team. Darren started the season coming off a severe injury from last spring when he tore his ACL in the opening round of their NCAA DIII National Championships. 

“Mentally it was a challenge seeing everyone compete, but Langone, the NYU staff and Ben made it all so smooth,” remarked Yen.

His resilience throughout the spring and summer has set him up to have a successful season this year, with only one loss on Sunday at the Sacred Heart Invitational. 

“Feeling the pressure and anticipation of being back in a competitive environment that I felt like I had forgotten, but it was still there,” Yen said. “I just missed this feeling of the competitive thrill.”

Looking ahead to the rest of the season, both Bratton and his athletes hope to acquire a full roster and qualify as many team members for the NCAA Championships as possible. Without a doubt, the Violets are set up for success this year. Both teams compete next on Jan. 6 at the North American Cup in San Jose, CA.

Contact Nicole Ranile at [email protected].

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