Tech Fencers Place Well in Regional Tournaments, Oct. 17, 2001

SOCORRO, N.M., October 17, 2001 -- The New Mexico Tech Fencing Club has made significant marks in recent regional fencing tournaments held in Santa Fe, with several members placing in top positions in the various events held during the past two competitions.

Most recently, at "Foiling Terrorism," a sanctioned fencing tournament that is part of the New Mexico Cup Series, Tech student Kris Haskins placed second in foil, with 48 points, and was joined by fellow students Caleb Fort (eighth), with 16 points; Kira Hirschfeld (11th), with eight points; and Rachel Chavez (32nd), with four points.

In the sabre event at the fund-raising tournament, which was held at Santa Fe's St. John's College, former Tech physics professor Brad Baker won first place. Baker continues to compete in fencing tournaments as a member of the Tech Fencing Club, although he currently resides in Colorado.

In another fencing competition held last month at the Villa Linda Mall in Santa Fe, Tech fencers also made their mark in the open foil competition, with Kris Haskins placing first (64 points); Jeff Kern placing sixth (16 points); Tim Canty placing 14th (eight points); and Rachel Chavez placing 25th (four points). In the épée competition, Jeff Kern placed first (64 points) and Kris Haskins finished fifth (16 points).

The New Mexico Cup Series, a string of fencing competitions held throughout the year, allows competitors to accrue points scored at all the tournaments, with awards given at the end of the year to those with the highest accumulated point totals.

Foil, épée, and sabre are the three weapons of choice used in sanctioned fencing matches. Fencing bouts involve intense duels between two fencers on a six-feet-by-40-feet strip in which the action is lightning fast and the tactics and strategies employed are honed through years of practice.

Most of New Mexico Tech's fencers have also fared well in another series of fencing competitions -- the "Friday Night Fights" -- which are held periodically in Santa Fe.

In this past summer's 2001 Summer National Championships, held in Sacramento, Calif., Tech student Jeff Kern placed 54th overall in the Division II -- Men's Foil and 70th overall in the Division III -- Men's Foil competitions. There were more than 180 competitors from throughout the country fencing in each of those events.