Campus & Community

Sisters in arms

2 min read

Harvard Rituals

“Our grandmothers had gone about with books poised on their heads, we felt very modern to have substituted fencing. “ – Mosette Stafford Vaughn, Radcliffe College Class of 1891.

Qualification for the NCAA Championships has become something of a ritual for recent members of the Harvard women’s fencing team, a far cry from the sports origins on campus dating back to 1888, but not far removed from the year the team officially came into being in 1974. Back then, team Captain Sara Kimball ’76, described as a “colorful, temperamental character, not easily forgotten by those who encountered her,” helped lead a resurgence of a competitive team that was tempered through hard work, perseverance, and no shortage of team spirit

Much the same could be said of epeeist Noam Mills ’12, current captain of the women’s team and member of the Israeli Olympic Team that competed in Beijing in 2008. For Mills, intercollegiate fencing has helped change her perspective on the sport, and credits her teammates with making the transition from Israel to Harvard an easy one. “It’s very different (in a good way) when I have teammates to share the joy of winning and the agony of losing with, “ Mills says.

Harvard University recently played host to the 2010 NCAA Fencing Championships, being held from March 25–28 at the Gordon Indoor Track. Harvard’s Caroline Vloka ’12 won the national title in Women’s Sabre, while her teammate Mills finished second in Women’s Épée. Vloka became Harvard’s first female NCAA Champion since Emily Cross ’08-09 won the Women’s Foil title in 2005.