Cambridge, Mass. (March 24) – MIT sophomore Helen Sakharova (Ridgewood, N.J.) is the recipient of the Elite 90 Award for the 2017 NCAA National Collegiate Fencing Championship. She is the first female Division III fencer and third MIT fencer to earn this award. The Engineers currently lead all Division III institutions with 10 honors since the program was established during the 2009-10 academic year.
Sakharova, majoring in computer science and molecular biology, currently carries a 5.0 GPA. She was presented with the award on Friday evening in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The Elite 90, an award founded by the NCAA, recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers. The Elite 90 is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA's 90 championships.
Eligible student-athletes are sophomores or above who have participated in their sport for at least two years with their school. They must be an active member of the team, traveling and a designated member of the squad size at the championship. All ties are broken by the number of credits completed.
A first-time NCAA Championship qualifier, Sakharova has compiled a record of 59-17 in epee action. She claimed her second straight New England Intercollegiate Fencing Conference title and finished eighth at the NCAA Northeast Regional Championship.
Sakharova's national debut begins on Saturday, March 25 at 11:00 a.m.