WALTHAM, Mass. – Brandeis University rookies Jessica Morales of Wilmington, Massachusetts and Josh Shuster of Brooklyn, New York, have been named the University Athletic Association Fencers of the Week for the week ending November 3.
The duo were honored for the first times in their career for winning gold medals at the 2019 New England Intercollegiate Fencing Conference (NEIFC) Fall Invitational, also known as The Big One.
Morales emerged from sabre pool play with the #3 seed in the direct elimination tournament after going 5-0 in pool play with a +23 indicator – the margin of touches scored against touches allowed. Morales rolled past opponents from New Hampshire and Amherst, 15-3, to get to the quarterfinals. In her first tight match, she defeated MIT's Kristen Palmer, 15-10, to get to the semis. Against second-seeded Gillian Lawlor of Boston College, Morales claimed a 15-9 win. In the gold-medal match, Morales prevailed, 15-11, over classmate Maggie Shealy of Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Shuster pulled the biggest upset of the meet, coming from the 22nd seed to win the entire men's epee direct-elimination tournament. He was fifth among Brandeis fencers in the draw after going 4-1 in pool play. Shuster defeated an opponent from BC, 15-11, before picking up his first upset in the Round of 32, 15-9, over 10th-seeded Nicolo Cerminaro, in the second round. He edged an opponent from UMass, seeded 39th, 15-12, to reach the quarters, where an injury forced his next opponent to withdraw. Facing another 22 seed, Shuster won another narrow victory, over an opponent from Sacred Heart, 15-13, to reach the gold medal match. In the finals, Shuster against took a tight match, 15-13, over 20th-seeded Thomas Park from BC.
This was the first intercollegiate competition for both rookies. The Judges return to action on Sunday, November 16, with the first Northeast Fencing Conference meet of the season at Brown University.
Morales is a 2019 graduate of Wilmington High School.
Shuster is a 2019 graduate of Staten Island Technical High School.