Fencing sends three to 2023 NCAA Championships

TEXT: 2023 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIERS: Maggie Shealy - Sr. - Women's Sabre; Tony Escueta - So. - Men's Sabre; Lev BenAvram - Fy. - Men's Sabre
IMAGES: LEFT: Maggie Shealy in fencing gear during a match, mask off, looking at camera; CENTER: Tony Escueta in fencing gear, mask off, smiling at camera; RIGHT: Lev BenAvram looking at an opponent after a match

WALTHAM, Mass. – Three members of the Brandeis University fencing team, all sabre fencers, have qualified for the 2023 NCAA National Collegiate Fencing Championships at Duke University later this month. Senior Maggie Shealy of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, has qualified for her third NCAA championship for the women’s team. Sophomore Tony Escueta of Grand Prairie, Texas, will be making his second appearance at nationals. First-year Lev BenAvram of Bethesda, Maryland, gives the Judges a first-year championship qualifier for the third championships in a row.

Shealy qualified for NCAAs as a first-year in 2020, only to see them cancelled because of COVID and Brandeis did not participate in the 2021 winter season due to COVID. As a junior in 2022, Shealy made the most of her trip to nationals going 14-9 to earn an eighth-place finish and All-Division All-America status and Division III Women’s Fencer of the Year honors. Having fenced in every dual match for the Judges this season, Shealy went a remarkable 84-11. She was named Northeast Fencing Conference Fencer of the Year, going 39-0 in conference matches. At the 2023 NCAA Northeast Regional Championships this past weekend, Shealy finished ninth in the final pool of 12, securing one of the regions automatic bids for the second year in a row.

Escueta finished 22nd at his first NCAA Championships in 2022, earning six wins at the championships. He was named the Division III Men’s Sabre Fencer of the Year and Division III Rookie of the Year. This season, he finished with a 38-15 record during the season, one win behind BenAvram for tops on the team. At the NCAA Regional Championships, Escueta had one of the best finishes by a Brandeis fencer in recent memory, coming in fourth in the final pool to help him book his berth at the NCAAs.

BenAvram joins Escueta and Shealy as first-years to qualify for NCAA Championships in their rookie seasons. He posted a 39-14 dual-meet record this season, the most wins among any Brandeis male fencer. BenAvram won at least one bout in every match he fenced in this season. In addition to his collegiate success, BenAvram was recently named to the USFencing Junior National team for men’s sabre. He finished in sixth place in the final pool at the NCAA Regional Championships at Harvard to help earn his spot at nationals.

In their first year under head coach Elif Sachs, Brandeis is one of 28 teams to qualify for the NCAA National Collegiate Championships. Five Division III schools have qualified for the championships, with only NYU’s four fencers surpassing the Judges’ three. Brandeis is also third among New England institutions to qualify, trailing Harvard (10) and Yale (5) and ahead of Boston College, Brown, Tufts and MIT. Last year, the Judges finished in 17th place out of 27 teams, behind only NYU among Division III squads.

The 2023 NCAA National Collegiate Fencing Championships will be held at Duke University from March 23 through 26 at Cameron Indoor Stadium, with the men competing on the first two days, followed by the women’s competition.

Click here for the full field of competitors at the 2023 NCAA National Collegiate Fencing Championships.

Shealy is a 2019 graduate of East Chapel Hill High School.

Escueta is a 2021 graduate of Abeka Home School Academy.

BenAvram is a 2022 graduate of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School.

For more information on Brandeis men’s or women’s fencing, please visit our web pages at https://www.brandeisjudges.com/sports/mfencing/index and https://www.brandeisjudges.com/sports/wfencing/index.

For more information on Brandeis University Athletics, please visit our web page at www.brandeisjudges.com or visit our Twitter, Facebook or Instagram feeds, @BrandeisJudges.