Men’s Club Fencing Team Wins First-Ever National Championship

The Dartmouth men’s club fencing team “foiled” the competition at the recent United States Association of Collegiate Fencing Clubs national tournament in Hartford, Conn., topping a field of 39 teams to win their first-ever national championship. The Big Green edged the runner-up United States Military Academy by 10 points and third-place finisher Cornell University by 45 points.

Adam Omar ’15 (left) and team co-captain Dave Seliger ’12 (right) are two members of the student-run men’s club fencing team that recently won its first-ever national championship. (photo by Eli Burak ’00)

It was a total team effort that helped the Big Green capture the title on April 15, according to Dave Seliger ’12, who co-captains the team along with Edward Talmage ’12. In the individual championships, Stuart Ghafoor ’14 (Foil B-strip) took eighth place, Adam Omar ’15 (Epee A-strip) finished sixth, while Tianchi Xu ’12 (Foil A-Strip) and Tommy McQuillan ’13 (Sabre A-strip) were also promoted to the individual round.

“I think the reason we won is that every single member of our team contributed in some meaningful way with their performance,” says Seliger, an engineering modified by studio art major from Winchester, Mass. “If there were any weak links, we just simply would not have won.”

Previously, the highest the team had placed was tenth, in 2007; last year they finished 23rd. Seliger says that half the team joins with previous experience either from high school or United States Fencing Association competition, while the other half of the team learns to fence at Dartmouth.

“People are often surprised to discover that Dartmouth does not have a fencing coach and is a completely student-run team,” adds Seliger. “I believe that our win speaks to the passion and dedication of all of our fencers.”

The Dartmouth men’s club fencing team captured its first-ever national championship earlier this month. (Back row, from left): Tianchi Xu ’12, Jordan Keehn ’15, Peter Horak ’14, Ivan Antoniv ’14, Trevor Ladd ’13, Nate Utterback ’14 (Front row, from left) Stuart Ghafoor ’14, Adam Omar ’15, Dave Seliger ’12, Scott Brookes ’14, Tommy McQuillan ’13, Edward Talmage ’12 (photo courtesy Dave Seliger ’12

Director of Club Sports Joann Brislin, who oversees Dartmouth’s 33 club sports, agrees. “This year’s student leadership raised the bar again for the fencing team. They set up a training camp themselves over winter break and worked with top coaches and some of the country’s top fencers. This is a reflection of their dedication, and helped take the team to another level. They had a very successful season, and also won the New England Championships prior to Nationals.”

Men’s fencing joins two other Dartmouth club sports that have recently captured national championships. Last weekend the figure skating club won its sixth national title and men’s rugby won the national USA 7s Collegiate Rugby Championship last June.