Touché, again

Touché, again

Photo Credit: Billie Weiss

By: Lydialyle Gibson

In late March, after winning 19 of 23 bouts in a two-day round-robin tournament, Harvard junior Adrienne Jarocki was crowned NCAA champion in saber fencing, regaining a title she first won two years ago as a freshman. (In last year's NCAAs, she brought home bronze.) "It was really sweet," Jarocki says. A native of Queens, New York, and the only child of Polish immigrants, she is also a former childhood beauty queen and champion ballroom dancer. She came to fencing relatively late; at 13 years old, having suddenly outgrown her dance partner by several inches, she was looking for a new pursuit when her mother came across an ad for a fencing school in the pages of a Polish newspaper. Curiosity turned into to commitment, and before long she was taking the subway to practice every day after school. 

In her junior year of high school, Jarocki began competing in international tournaments, and as a high-school senior she was a member of the USA Junior National Team. Her weapon, the saber, with its V-shaped blade, is used for cutting and slashing, and until the 1980s it was not officially sanctioned in women's competitions—the United States Fencing Association considered it too heavy and dangerous, compared to the lighter, smaller foil. 

At Harvard, Jarocki balances fencing with a pre-med curriculum and work in the laboratory of Chad Cowan, associate professor of stem-cell and regenerative biology; she will graduate next year with a degree in human evolutionary biology and is applying to medical school.

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