Four Cardinal freshman capture All-America honors at fencing nationals

March 28, 2021, 10:33 p.m.

Freshmen Irene Yeu, Haley Koo, Joy Yun and Donghwan Park all earned All-America honors at their first national championship, despite none finishing in the top four of their 24-person groups and making it to the national semifinals. 

The result is the biggest disappointment for Yeu, who commanded the women’s épée group after the first three rounds of play on Saturday with a 13-2 record. But her lead wasn’t enough to secure a spot in the final four on Sunday. She went 0-4 to start the day and plummeted all the way to sixth place. Yeu needed to win both of her remaining bouts against Northwestern’s Blodwen Bindas and Notre Dame’s Kaylin Hsieh, the group’s new leader, to have a shot at the final four. 

She did just that, putting her into a four-way tie for second in the group with 15 victories in 21 bouts (two fencers withdrew from the group, voiding their bouts with all other fencers). The tiebreaker was the difference between touches scored and touches received, which for Yeu was +11. She was beaten by Nicole Gavrilko of St. John’s University, who finished fourth with a difference of +19, and went home without a shot at the title. 

The other three Cardinal to be recognized — Koo, Yun and Park — all straddled the bubble of their 24-person groups as well. Koo finished in sixth place in women’s foil and Yun finished eighth in women’s saber, both earning victories in 13 of their respective 20 and 21 bouts. All three women earned second-team All-America honors. 

Park finished 11th in the men’s saber group, winning 12 of his 23 bouts. His placement in the top 12 earned him an All-America honorable mention. His teammate, sophomore Calvin Zau, ended six places behind him after winning just nine of 23 bouts. 

As a team, Stanford finished 11th, a respectable placement given that it didn’t field a fencer in men’s foil or men’s épée, but far from Notre Dame, which clinched the title.

Michael Espinosa '22 is majoring in international relations. He's the head of The Daily's social media team, and editor for the University beat and also occasionally writes for sports, arts, and The Grind. He's the biggest Taylor Swift fan at Stanford and the proudest New Yorker you will ever meet. Contact him at mespinosa 'at'

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