Escueta goes unbeaten as men split at Brandeis Invitational

Tony Escuata prepares for a bout against Incarnate Word (Photo by Adam Levin '94)
Tony Escuata prepares for a bout against Incarnate Word (Photo by Adam Levin '94)

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University fencing team hosted the first of three home meets for the 2021-22 season today with the Brandeis Invitational. The Judges met some top-flight foes, with the men going 3-3 and the women 2-4.

In the opening round, the Brandeis men lost a heartbreaker to Yale, 14-13. The Judges took the saber, 6-3, and the epee, 5-4, but the Bulldogs' 7-2 victory in foil provided the one-point margin of victory. On the women's side, the Judges lost to the Elis, 23-4, picking up all of their wins in saber.

In round 2, it was the women who lost a one-point decision, falling to St. John's, 14-13. Brandeis won foil, 6-3, but the Red Storm took the epee bouts by the same score. SJU edged Brandeis in saber, 5-4, to take the victory. The men's squad lost to St. John's 19-8, with saber coming close at 4-5. The Johnnies won the other two weapons by a 7-2 score.

In the third round, the men picked up a 17-10 win over Cornell, winning at saber, 7-2, and foil, 6-3, and narrowly dropping epee, 4-5. The women lost to Cornell, 20-7, despite a 5-4 win in saber.

The Brandeis men won their second-straight match in Round Four, taking down Brown, 15-12. For the second match in a row, it was a 7-2 win in saber and 6-3 in epee that secured the victory. The Judges led by two, 13-11, headed into the final set of epee bouts, with junior Ben Rogak (East Setauket, N.Y. / Ward-Melville) and rookie Tal Kronrod (Concord, Mass. / Concord Carlisle) providing the clinching and insurance wins. The women fell to the Bears, 20-7, with a 4-5 loss in saber the closest squad score.

The women picked up their first win of the afternoon in Round 5, downing their local rivals from MIT, 16-11. Saber went 7-2, behind a 3-0 mark from junior Maggie Shealy (Chapel Hill, N.C./East Chapel Hill), while rookie Bronwyn Rothman-Hall (San Francisco, Calif. / Ruth Asawa School of the Arts) was unbeaten at 3-0 to lead the epee squad to a 6-3 win. The men suffered their second one-point loss of the day against the Engineers, as the teams split saber (for Brandeis) and foil (for MIT) by 6-3 scores, with MIT taking epee, 5-4, winning five in a row with the Judges winning the first and last two bouts.

Both Brandeis teams finished the day on a positive note, sweeping Incarnate Word. The women won by the exact same scores as they did against MIT, 16-11, overall with a 7-2 mark in saber and 6-3 win in epee. The men posted an 18-9 win over UIW, with all three squads defeating their Cardinal opponents by a 6-3 score.

Individually, the day's top performer was first-year men's saber fencer Tony Escueta (Grand Prairie, Texas / Abeka Home School Academy), who went a perfect 12-0 on the day, including three wins each against Yale, St. John's and MIT. The men's epee squad was 5-1 overall on the afternoon. Rogak was the only other Brandeis men's fencer not to post a losing record in any of his matches, going 9-3 with 2-1 performances against Yale, St. John's and MIT.

For the women, Shealy continued her excellence this season, going 15-2, with both losses coming against St. John's. The Judges' other top performers on the women's side were first-year saber fencer Kayla Turnoff (Westfield, N.J. / Kent Place School), who earned eight wins, and junior epee fencer Monica Aponte (San Juan, P.R. / St. John's School), with seven.

The Judges will also host their next meet, next semester on January 22, 2022, when the second Northeast Fencing Conference competition of the season comes to Waltham.