Berman, Jean, Mandel reach final pools at NCAA Regionals

Berman, Jean, Mandel reach final pools at NCAA Regionals

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Three Brandeis University fencers made it to the final pool of the NCAA Northeast Regional held at NYU on Sunday.

The Judges' top two performances came from senior veterans in search of return trips to the NCAA Championships, which will be held later this month. In men's foil, Noah Berman (Palo Alto, Calif./Palo Alto) placed 11th, while Adam Mandel (White Plains, N.Y./Masters School) was 11th in the men's sabre. Sophomore Ashley Jean (Norwood, Mass./Fontbonne Acad.) placed 12th in women's sabre.

Berman, who reached his first NCAA Championship last year, was seeded 15th in foil headed into the regional. He went 3-2 with wins over Yale, NYU and Boston College in his opening round to advance in the 14th spot. In round 2, Berman's 3-3 mark was just enough to earn a spot in the final pool of 12, two spots ahead of teammate Len Grazian (Barrington, Ill./Barrington), who he defeated, 5-2, in addition to wins over Sacred Heart and another BC fencer. Berman picked up two more wins in 11 bouts in the finals, defeating Harvard's Brian Kaneshige, who ended up finishing fifth, and Yale's James Broughton, the 12th-place finisher.

Mandel, a three-time NCAA qualifier and All-American as a sophomore, was the sabre's ninth seed headed into the meet. He finished second in his opening pool with a 5-1 record, with his only loss coming by a 5-4 score against a fencer from St. Johns. Mandel posted a 3-3 record in the second round, with wins over opponents from Columbia, NYU and Harvard to claim the 10th spot in the final round. The Judges just missed putting two fencers in the finals, as senior Jess Ochs-Willard (Montclair, N.J./Montclair) was 2-4 in the second round and finished in 13th place. In the final round, Mandel won three of his 11 matches – avenging his earlier loss to Roman Sydorenko, the fifth-place finisher from St. Johns, as well as defeating foes Eli Polston from Vassar and Eli Dershwitz of Harvard.

In women's sabre action, Jean was the 18th seeded headed into the regional, earning a bye into the second round. In her first action of the day, Jean went 4-2, defeating opponents from Yale, MIT, Brown and NYU to improve to the 15th spot, two behind junior Deborah Abiri (Old Westbury, N.Y./North Shore). Abiri just made it into the second round after going 2-2, but wins over four Ivy League foes, including eventual finalists from Brown and Columbia, as well as from Cornell and Yale, advanced her to the third.  Abiri was unable to continue her hot streak, but Jeans wins over Cornell, St. John's and Tufts put her into the finals. Though she was winless in the final pool Jean narrowly lost 5-4 decisions to bronze medalist Aliya Itzkowitz from Harvard and Margaret McDonald of St. John's.

Other the other weapons, junior Caroline Mattos (Providence, R.I./LaSalle Acad.) finished 16th in women's foil, snapping her streak of two-straight NCAA Championship appearances; classmate Tom Hearne (Holmdel, N.J./Ranney School) placed 16thin men's epee as the 24th seed; and rookie Liz Feller (Cordtlandt Manor, N.Y./Henrick Hudson) was 17th in women's epee.

The Judges will wait until Tuesday to see if Berman, Mandel or Jean have earned a shot at the National Collegiate Championships at Ohio State later this month.