Women's Fencing Carries on A Tradition of Excellence, Thanks to A Remarkable Coach
Stevens' women's fencing teams have long overachieved: of the 25 varsity sports currently offered at the university, this program is one of the most decorated. The teams have produced a number of exceptional scholar athletes.
Even more remarkable: for all 46 seasons, the program has been led by the same head coach, Linda Vollkommer-Lynch Hon. M.Eng. ’04.
With Vollkommer-Lynch at the helm, the Ducks have finished as the top Division III school seven times in the National Intercollegiate Women’s Fencing Association (NIWFA) Championships, earned five Eastern Women’s Fencing Conference (EWFC) team titles and made two trips to the NCAA DIII Championships. All time, the teams have compiled 597 duel victories against just 314 losses.
A fencer herself, Vollkommer-Lynch won the 1983 New Jersey State Championship and competed in the U.S. Women's Fencing Olympic trials in 1984. Her passion for the sport has undoubtedly contributed to the success of the Stevens program and to the fencers who have learned from her.
“Being a part of such a storied program is such an honor for me,” she reflects. “I have seen countless amazing student-athletes come through the program, and I am just happy I was able to have a small impact on their lives.”
ToyKen Yee ’85, the first woman inducted into the Stevens Athletics Hall of Fame, is one of those student-athletes. Yee was part of a 1982 women’s fencing team that was the first to win the NCAA Northeast Regional Title and advance to the NCAA Finals, where it placed seventh. Individually Yee finished in 14th place overall at foil, still the highest finish of any women’s fencer in program history.
Other women fencers, including Joann Gherardi-Lyons ’81, Keisha (Jackson) Watt ’98, Rosie (Reyes-Esquivel) Bauer ’01, Jennifer Garner ’98 and Andrea Chimel ’05, have also been selected to the Stevens Athletics Hall of Fame.
The program has also been extremely successful academically, named a National Intercollegiate Women’s Fencing Association All-Academic Team for 20 consecutive years. Two team members, Apryl Webb ’06 M.Eng. ’08 and Angie Hankins ’95, were chosen from a national pool of collegiate athletes to earn the Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars Award, honoring their commitment to athletics and academics as well as their leadership and community service. Another fencer, Judith Generoso ’06, received an Academic All-District selection from College Sports Information Directors of America.
Volkommer-Lynch's fencers have become even more successful in recent years, including the securing of nine NIWFA Weapon Championships across the three weapons during the past nine years and 11 selected EWFC Fencers of the Year since the award's inception in 2000. The teams set and then tied the all time record for wins in both 2017-18 and 2018-19, with 32 wins in each season.
For more information on the Stevens Ducks women’s fencing program, click here.