Three things are certain in life: death, taxes, and Princeton women’s fencing dominating their competition.
The Tigers (25–0 overall, 8–0 Ivy League) entered this past weekend’s Ivy League championship with the No.1 ranking in the country. At the tournament, they proved why they are the top dogs (or perhaps cats, given Princeton’s mascot), defeating all six of their league opponents en route to the program’s 11th Ivy title.
It was the team’s first title since 2017, with the group having finished as runners-up at the last three championships from 2018–2020. The victory also extends the Tigers’ streak of top-two finishes at the Ivy championships to 12 seasons. The last time they finished outside of the top two was in 2009, when they finished in third place at the Ivy championships.
The Tigers also won all three individual titles at the Ivy League championships, with junior Chloe Fox-Gitomer winning in the saber discipline, first-year Jessica Lin claiming the epee title, and first-year Maia Weintraub emerging victorious in the foil competition. All three fencers posted a phenomenal 12–2 record in their respective bouts at the tournament.
The title is especially impressive when one considers that of the Tigers’ Ivy rivals, all but Brown are nationally ranked, and three (No. 2 Columbia, No 4. Cornell, and No. 5 Harvard) appear in the top five. None of these nationally-ranked opponents even came close to beating the Tigers, with the closest margin being a whopping nine points.
The women opened up the weekend by making quick work of No. 11 Penn (16–10, 3–4), who they defeated with a commanding 21–6 scoreline. The Tigers then dispatched Brown (16–7, 0–7) by a tally of 22–5.
Next up for the Tigers was No. 10 Yale (12–5, 3–5), who made up some ground by losing just 5–4 in the epee discipline, but ultimately fell 18–9 to Princeton. The Tigers would match this winning scoreline twice more against No. 5 Harvard (15–4, 4–3) and No. 4 Cornell (33–5, 3–5).
“The way they picked the format was to have the higher-ranked teams fence each other last to create more suspense and excitement,” Lin wrote in a comment to The Daily Princetonian.
The Tigers’ highest-ranked opponent of the weekend, No. 3 Columbia (26–5–1, 5–3–0), was simply no match for their momentum. Princeton easily handled the Lions 20–7, with an especially impressive 8–1 advantage in foil. The victory was a staggering improvement over a match earlier this season which saw the Tigers eke out a narrow 14–13 win.
“Going into the second day, we knew we had to go really hard against [No. 3] Columbia because the last time we fenced them we won only by a very small margin,” Weintraub wrote to the ‘Prince.’ “This time, we were really prepared and had a plan for lineups and strategy.”
“We had the same thing going against [No. 5 Harvard], and it paid off,” Lin added. “Overall, no team got more than nine bouts out of 27 against us, and we thought that was very impressive.”
Following their Ivy League triumph, the Tigers will have one final meet at Temple on Feb. 27 before hosting the NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Regional in Jadwin Gymnasium on March 12.
“We’re looking to train for NCAAs and keep momentum strong,” Weintraub told the ‘Prince.’ “It’s great to be Ivy League champions.”
Wilson Conn is a co-head editor for the Sports section at the 'Prince' who typically covers football, basketball, and breaking news. He is also a senior writer for the Podcast section. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @wilson_conn.