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January NAC Day 2 Recap: Scruggs, Dershwitz OLY and Kim Grab Golds in Huge Day for Harvard Fencing

01/07/2023, 8:30pm CST
By Bryan Wendell

Lauren Scruggs was one of three current or former Harvard University student-athletes who won gold on Saturday in a huge day for the Crimson.

Lauren Scruggs (Peter Westbrook Foundation / Fencers Club Inc.) battles Jacqueline Dubrovich OLY (New Jersey Fencing Alliance) in the Division I Women's Foil final. (Photo by Serge Timacheff)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — When Lauren Scruggs is in a bit of a fencing funk, she doesn’t get frustrated. She gets creative. 

“I wouldn’t say I started off too hot today. I just felt kind of weird fencing,” she says. “When I get into that kind of headspace, I usually just get creative with it. I try new ways to touch, maybe going more defense or offense, kind of just playing around. I think usually when people are stuck, they try to do the same thing. I just take a minute to chill and rethink my strategy.”

That technique paid off Saturday as the Harvard University sophomore found creative ways to win every bout all the way to a gold medal in Division I Women’s Foil.

A gold medal for Scruggs was among the highlights during a thrilling second day of fencing at the January 2023 North American Cup. Saturday featured 11 events, with gold medals awarded in Division I Women’s Foil, Division I Men’s Saber, Junior Women’s Saber, Junior Men’s Foil and seven different Veterans events. 

Scruggs was one of three current or former Harvard University student-athletes who won gold on Saturday in a huge day for the Crimson. Eli Dershwitz OLY, a Class of 2019 graduate and assistant coach at Harvard, won gold in Division I Men’s Saber. Zoe Kim, a first-year Harvard student, took home the top prize in Junior Women’s Saber. 

As a collegiate fencer who travels to international tournaments with Team USA, Scruggs has found a way to balance a busy schedule. Doing so requires hard work, precise planning and professors who understand the life of a student athlete.

But Scruggs, a two-time Junior Women’s Foil individual world champion (2019, 2022) still remembers what it was like to be a young fencer hoping to make it big.

“I would definitely say to treat practice a little bit like a tournament,” she says. “When I fence, even in practice, I’m trying new things and always trying to play around and up my game a little bit. I think a lot of people just go to practice and just fence to fence. But that’s where all the work takes place. And on the strip, you can see tons of improvement.”

Dershwitz, Scruggs, Kim and the entire Harvard delegation of coaches and athletes were planning to celebrate their big day at a team dinner at a Louisville steakhouse.

For Dershwitz, this NAC was a welcome reminder of what he considers some of his “best fencing memories” to date.

“It's like the only time in our lives as fencers, and something that all the other countries don't get to experience, but it really turns an individual sport into a team sport,” Dershwitz says of collegiate fencing. “Just having people you know, around you, where you're training together, you're studying together, hanging out together, you're building friendships together. There can be days where you fence horribly, but your teammates fence so well that the team wins. There can be days where you fence amazing but the team struggles, and your team loses. Just being able to deal with that type of complexity that you really don't have in individual sports. It’s something that I found very moving.”

Full Results

Division I Women's Foil

Gold: Lauren Scruggs (Peter Westbrook Foundation / Fencers Club Inc.)

Silver: Jacqueline Dubrovich OLY (New Jersey Fencing Alliance)

Bronze: May Tieu (Princeton University NCAA)

Bronze: Carolina J. Stutchbury (Epic Fencing Club / SCAD- Atlanta Fencing)

5: Zander Rhodes (V Fencing Club / LE CLUB TOUCHE)

6: Maia Weintraub (Fencers Club Inc. / Fencing Academy of Philadelphia)

7: Yunjia Zhang (Canada)

8: Arianna L. Cao (Massialas Foundation (M Team))


Division I Men's Saber

Gold: Eli Dershwitz OLY (Tim Morehouse Fencing Club)

Silver: Antonio Heathcock (Manhattan Fencing Center)

Bronze: Grant Williams (New York Athletic Club / New York University)

Bronze: Jared Smith (University of Notre Dame / Avant Garde Fencers Club Inc (CA) (AGFC))

5: Andrew Mackiewicz OLY (New York Athletic Club / Zeta Fencing)

6: Gabriel Armijo (Peter Westbrook Foundation)

7: Benjamin Kogan (Dynamo Fencing Center Inc.)

8: Luke Linder (University of Notre Dame / Phoenix Fencing Academy)


Junior Women's Saber

Gold: Zoe Kim (Nellya Fencers/Harvard University)

Silver: Audrey Lin (Globus Fencing Academy)

Bronze: Lola Possick (Advance Fencing and Fitness Academy)

Bronze: Hannah Lee (Boston Fencing Club)

5: Sophie Liu (Capital Fencing Academy)

6: Megumi Oishi (Northwestern University)

7: Irene Jung (Premier Fencing Academy LLC)

8: Adele Bois (Scarsdale Fencing Center / Fencers Club Inc.)


Junior Men's Foil

Gold: Allen Chen (Bluegrass Fencers' Club)

Silver: Andrew Chen (Bluegrass Fencers' Club)

Bronze: Elijah T. Onik (Gutkovskiy Fencing Academy)

Bronze: Daniel D. Zhang (Star Fencing Academy)

5: Nickolas Rusadze (Tim Morehouse Fencing Club (Port Chester))

6: Brandon H. Li (Princeton University / Marx Fencing Academy)

7: Jack Oursler (Manhattan Fencing Center / University of Notre Dame)

8: Owen Li (Marx Fencing Academy)


Vet Women's Saber (Combined)

Gold: Yelena Kalkina (Oregon Fencing Alliance)

Silver: Jasmina Denner (Scarsdale Fencing Center)

Bronze: Lynn Y. Zhang (PDX Fencing)

Bronze: Leigh Altman (Atlantic Fencing Academy)

5: Kate Sierra (Atlantic Fencing Academy)

6: Frauke Berman (Manhattan Fencing Center)

7: Heidi Runyan (Spartak)

8: Jenny J. Yang (Nellya Fencers)


Vet Men's Epee (Combined)

Gold: Keith H. Lichten (East Bay Fencers Gym)

Silver: Vadim Makmatov (Salle Auriol Seattle)

Bronze: Michael Buckley (Canada)

Bronze: Derek H. Wilkinson (On Target Fencing Team)

5: Fred Frank (Northwest Fencing Center)

6: Iliya Mechkov (Cavalier Fencing Club)

7: Jordan Stock (Salle Auriol Seattle)

8: Scott E. Rostal (Twin Cities Fencing Club)


Vet-40 Women's Epee

Gold: Nicole P. Polanichka (Lancaster Fencing Academy)

Silver: Kristin Foellmer (DC Fencers Club)

Bronze: Kundry E. Haberkern (Salle Auriol Seattle)

Bronze: Kira Hansen (Northern California)

5: Haejung Hofman (Academy of Fencing Masters (AFM))

6: Polo Mueller (Forge Fencing Teams)

7: Heidi M. Hendrick (Northern Colorado Fencers / New Mexico Fencing Foundation)

8: Valerie A. Hutchinson (Denver Fencing Center)


Vet-50 Women's Epee

Gold: Ann M. Totemeier (Northern Colorado Fencers / Denver Fencing Center)

Silver: Michelle M. Schultz (Hooked On Fencing)

Bronze: Vera Belaoussoff (Canada)

Bronze: Dorothy Smith (Fencing Academy of Denver / South Denver Fencing Academy)

5: Yuliya Ganser (Medeo Fencing Club)

6: Sharrie A. Zafft (Marx Fencing Academy)

7: Dawn M. Lorentson (Shoreline Fencers Club / Riverside Fencing Club)

8: Michele S. Carey (Bozeman Fencing Association LLC)


Vet-60 Women's Epee

Gold: Georgina Love (Central Florida)

Silver: Valerie Asher (DC Fencers Club)

Bronze: Carole A. Jeandheur (DC Fencers Club)

Bronze: Caroline B. Rich (High Desert Fencing Alliance)

5: Anne-Marie Walters (Masters Fencing Club)

6: Amy C. Montoya (Battle Born Fencing Club)

7: Cristina G. Gordet (South Florida Fencing Club)

8: Patricia A. Wilkens (lowcountry fencers)


Vet-70 Women's Epee

Gold: Charlotta Bowie (Modern Duelists Fencing Academy)

Silver: Bonnie Aher (Salle Auriol Seattle)

Bronze: Cathy A. Kelley (Olympian Fencing Club)

Bronze: Agota Balot (Atlantic Fencing Academy)

5: Anna Telles (Salle Auriol Seattle)

6: Patricia G. Bedrosian (Salle Couturier)

7: Cynthia J. Runyon (High Desert Fencing Alliance)

8: Henri H. Gales (Charlotte Fencing Academy / North Carolina Fencing Development Program)


Vet-80 Women's Epee

Gold: Bettie J. Graham (Chevy Chase Fencing Club)

Silver: Patricia G. Bedrosian (Salle Couturier)

Bronze: Mary A. Turzillo (On Target Fencing Team / Cyranos Place)

Bronze: Suzie Balestracci (Fencers School Of Connecticut)

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Tag(s): Updates