Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fencing Lessons

TigerBlog is learning more and more about fencing every day.

Among the things he's learned? Princeton is really good at it. And so is Jonathan Yergler.

What else does TB know now about the sport?

There are three weapons - the epee, sabre and foil. There are subtle differences in the swords themselves and also in where on the opponent's body where a touch equals a point.

Still, fencing remains mostly foreign to TB, though he can appreciate the job that Zoltan Dudas and his staff have done in establishing Princeton as a national power.

Princeton had its highest finish ever in the NCAA championships in their current format (the 1964 men won the title), finishing second to Ohio State. Yergler became an NCAA individual champion, as he won the epee title.

It's a huge accomplishment - and it's one that leaves the door open to take the last step.

The women's team would have taken that step each of the last two years had there been separate championships for the men and women. Instead, the NCAA fencing championships combine the two sexes into one, so Princeton had to settle for second behind the Buckeyes.

Princeton's women actually tied Ohio State on points. A year ago, Princeton's women would have been outright champ.

As for Yergler, he qualified for the individual championship by essentially point differential after his 23 bouts during the team event.

TB also learned about this.

Each team could qualify two fencers per weapon, for a total of 12 per team. There are 24 fencers per weapon, and they all go head-to-head, with bouts up to five points.

The top four fencers in the standings for each weapon go to the semifinals for the individual championships.

Yergler was tied for fourth after 23 bouts but got in on the tiebreaker, which is the scoring of each of the 23 bouts (think point differential). Once there, he won the title.

Here's another thing TB learned from the fencing championships:

Twitter is great.

TB kept checking Twitter on his iPhone to see how Princeton was doing. No muss. No fuss. Simple and easy.

Yeah, there are too many retweets going on that clutter up the medium, but TB doesn't follow that many people.

TB thinks that Princeton isn't using its Twitter feed enough. For that matter, he's not using his own TB Twitter feed enough.

Moving forward, we'll have to look into it and see what can be done.

Of course, TB also fears that the 140-character limit is having really negative effects on the way that people write, use grammar, spell and all.

For a college athletic department, though, Twitter is here to stay and needs to be maximized. It was great for the EIWA wrestling and the national squash championships as well.

As for fencing, it's a pretty fascinating sport.

TB wonders what kind of specific athletic skills are necessary to be a great fencer and how they'd carry over to other sports.

In the meantime, Princeton continues to excel at the sport, with an NCAA individual champion and an NCAA runner-up finish.

At least that's what it said on Twitter.

1 comment:

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