STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Wilmington’s Jessica Morales Named All-American By U.S. Fencing Coaches Association

Below is a press release from Brandeis University’s Athletic Department:

WALTHAM, MA — A pair of Brandeis University first-year women’s sabre fencers, Jessica Morales of Wilmington, Massachusetts, and Maggie Shealy of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, have been named honorable mention All-Americans by the United States Fencing Coaches Association. Both fencers, along with classmate Ben Rogak of East Setauket, New York, were named All-Northeast Region as well. This is the first time that the USFCA has selected an All-Region team.

Morales and Shealy are the Judges’ third and fourth women’s fencing All-Americans in program history, and first since 2003 (Tracy Marien ’03). They had both qualified to represent Brandeis at the 2020 NCAA National Collegiate Fencing Championships in Detroit before the event was cancelled. Rogak was an alternate selection to the NCAAs.

At the NCAA Northeast Regional at Cornell on March 8, Shealy and Morales finished sixth and seventh overall in the final standings. Both went 6-0 in the opening round, with Morales going 4-2 in the semifinals to earn the sixth seed into the final pool, and Shealy going 3-3 to earn the 11th of 12 spots. In the final pool, both fencers went 6-5, with Shealy posting a plus-one indicator – the differential between touches scored and touches received – with Morales finishing with a zero indicator. Shealy defeated her teammate, 5-4, likely helping clinch her berth at nationals.

During the regular season, Shealy led Brandeis with 69 victories in dual matches and was a three-time University Athletic Association Fencer of the Week. She was a first-team All-Northeast Fencing Conference selection.

Morales was second on the team with 63 dual-match wins and had just 19 losses for a team-best .875 winning percentage. She did not fence in enough NFC matches to earn All-Conference recognition, but was a five-time UAA Fencer of the Week. Morales, who competes for Colombia internationally, earned bronze medal at the Junior Pan Am games in February, upsetting the top-ranked junior sabre fencer in the world in the process.

Rogak, who was seeded 24th headed into the NCAA Regional, made it all the way to the final pool of 12, finishing sixth overall. Rogak went 4-2 in the opening round with a plus-nine indicator to make it to the semifinals in the seventh spot. In the semis, he went 4-2 again, posting wins over Harvard, NYU, Yale and Columbia with a plus-six indicator to claim the fifth seed in the finals. Like the women’s sabre, the final round of 12 was extremely competitive, with all 12 fencers earning at least four wins in their 11 bouts, and none winning more than seven. Rogak was 5-6 with a minus-one indicator, earning wins against the eventual pool champion from Harvard and the bronze medalist from Hunter, as well as two NYU opponents and one from St. Johns. Rogak’s sixth-place finish earned him a spot on the all-regional team, and he was briefly in the field for the NCAAs as an alternate, after teams had dropped out but before the event was cancelled.

Morales is a 2019 graduate of Wilmington High School.

Shealy is a 2019 graduate of East Chapel Hill High School.

Rogak is a 2019 graduate of East Setauket High School.

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