Cardillo, Zook finish 10th at NCAA Northeast regionals

Julian Cardillo '14 and Mike Zook '13 (photo by Sportspix)

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Two members of the Brandeis University fencing team are up for at-large berths at the 2012 NCAA National Collegiate Fencing Championships based on their performances at Sunday's regional championship at Boston College. Sophomore Julian Cardillo (Medford, Mass./St. Johns Prep) is looking for a second-straight berth in the men's foil, while junior Zoe Messinger (Short Hills, N.J./Millburn) is up for her first trip to nationals in the women's saber.

Cardillo, who finished 17th in the foil at nationals in 2011, placed 10th at the NCAA regional this weekend. Seeded seventh headed into the meet, he went 3-3 in the opening pool, qualifying for the second round with the last available spot. Cardillo advanced to the final round with a 4-2 record, moving on in the ninth position, before posting a 3-7 record in the finals. Cardillo finished just ahead of teammate Noah Berman (Palo Alto, Calif./Palo Alto), who won his first-round pool at 4-1, then went 4-2 in the second round before struggling in the finals with a 2-8 record to finish in 11th place.

Messinger, whose best previous finish at regionals was a 17th-place finish last year, improved to 11th in 2012. She was the 20th seed headed into the tournament this year. In her first round of competition, Messinger went 4-2, advancing in the 16th spot. She went 3-3 in the second round, edging two other fencers who went .500 with an even touch differential, to take the 12th and final spot in the final round. In the final bracket, Messinger registered two more victories, over fencers from St. John's and Boston College, to claim 11th place overall and one of two at-large considerations from the Northeast region.

The Judges' most impressive finish at regionals came from junior Mike Zook (Chicago, Ill./University of Chicago Lab School) in the men's epee. With senior Alex Powell (Upper Montclair, N.J./Montclair), a 2011 NCAA performer, out due to illness, Zook carried on in his stead, rallying from the 33rd seed to make the final pool and finish in 10th place. Coming out of the first round among the bottom 10 seeds with a 3-1 record, Zook went 3-3 in both the second and third rounds, claiming the 19th out of 21 spots in the third and the 11th of 12 berths in the finals. In the final round, he went 4-7 with wins over three Ivy League opponents from Harvard, Yale and Columbia, to claim 10th overall. Unfortunately, with regular-season results factored in, Zook was unable to earn consideration for NCAAs.

In the other weapons, Brandeis's top performers were sophomore Leah Mack (Tarrytown, N.Y./Irvington), who tied for 17th in the women's epee; junior Vikki Nunley (Glen Gardner, N.J./Voorhees), who was 17th in women's foil; and rookie Adam Mandel (White Plains, N.Y./The Masters School), who placed 18th in men's saber.

The announcement of the field for the 2012 NCAA Fencing championships will take place on Tuesday, March 13. The championship meet will be held in San Antonio, Texas, from March 23-26.

Full results from the 2012 NCAA Northeast Regional fencing championships are available at http://www.prisedefer.com/results/Tournaments/Regionals2012/index.htm