PRINCETON, N.J. -- With the turn of the New Year, the Ivy League fencing season will be in full swing by the end of January and will culminate with the 2012 Ivy League Round-Robins on Feb. 11-12, followed by the NCAA Regional competition and the NCAA Championships.
Columbia and Harvard open their winter slates at the perennially challenging St. John’s Super Cup and the New York University Duals on Jan. 21 and 22, with Yale joining the fray for the NYU duals as well. On that same weekend, Penn and the Cornell women’s team will take part in the Philadelphia Invitational. Other schedule highlights before the 2012 Ivy League Round-Robins, include Penn heading to the Penn State Invitational (Jan. 28) and Princeton fencing at the Northwestern Duals (Feb. 4-5).
In the 2011 Ivy League Round-Robins, Harvard edged Yale for the men’s round-robin title. It came down to the final touch of the final bout between Yale and Harvard and on the strength of a Michael Raynis touch, the Crimson won its first Ivy League title since 2007. Harvard finished the two-day event with a 5-0 record, while Yale finished second at 4-1. On the women’s side, Princeton posted a 6-0 record to successfully defend the Ivy League Round-Robin title. Columbia put together a strong showing and remained in the title hunt for the duration of the two-day event and ultimately finished second with a 5-1 mark.
After the 2012 Round-Robins, several Ivy League underclassmen will head to Salt Lake City, Utah for the USFA National Junior Olympics (Feb. 17-20), while many other Ivies will compete in the United States Weapon Squad Championships on Feb. 26 at NYU.
The road to the NCAA Championships begins on March 10 and 11 with the NCAA Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast Regionals. The four-day NCAA Championships will then be contested on March 22-25 in Columbus, Ohio with Ohio State serving as the host.
Here is a team-by-team look at some highlights from the 2011-12 season thus far:
The Bears men’s and women’s teams opened their season with a first-place showing at the NEIFC Invitational, an event that involved ten teams … the men’s team then went 3-1 at the NFC. No. 1 (hosted by New Hampshire) while the women’s team posted a 5-0 mark … the foil squad paced the men’s team as Barrett Weiss, James Golin and Joshua Grill combined for a 24-3 record and juniors Cory Abbe and Caitlin Taylor led the women’s team as Abbe went 11-0 in epee and Taylor went 13-0 in sabre … Brown then competed at the Brandeis Invitational before breaking until the end of January, with the men posting a 3-2 mark and the women finishing the event with a 4-1 mark, including a 19-8 win over North Carolina.
The Lions and new head coach Michael Aufrichtig will open their season at the St. John’s Super Cup on Jan. 21.
The Big Red had a busy fall/early winter slate that included participating in the Temple Open, the Vassar Invitational and the Brandeis Invitational … at Temple’s season-opening event, sophomore Christine McIntosh took the silver medal in foil (out of 86 fencers) and junior Christie Robinson earned the bronze medal in epee (92) … in the Vassar and Brandeis Invitationals, Cornell combined for a 10-1 mark, with its only loss coming at the hands of perennial power St. John’s (17-10) … at the Brandeis Invitational, senior foilist Rebecca Hirschfeld led the way with a record of 12-2 on the day, including perfect slates against Brandeis (3-0), MIT (3-0) and UNC (2-0).
The Crimson men and women opened 2011-12 at Penn State’s Garret Open, where freshman Peregrine Badger led the men’s team by winning a bronze in epee … on the women’s side, defending NCAA Foil Champion Alexandra Kiefer won the gold in a 50-person field and senior Caroline Vloka took gold in sabre, which included 41 entrants … at the Penn State Open, the Crimson men went 4-1, highlighted by a 19-8 win over UNC … Raynis and senior James Hawrot combined for a 23-4 mark in epee, while freshman Alexander Ryjik went 13-2 in sabre … the women posted a 5-1 mark in the Penn State Invitational including wins over Temple (16-11) and North Carolina (19-8), with the lone loss coming at the hands of the host Nittany Lions (16-11) … Vloka, the Women’s Most Outstanding Performer of the 2011 Ivy League Round-Robins, went 18-0, while Kiefer went 17-1 in foil.
The Quakers opened the year by fencing in Penn State’s Garret Open … junior Evan Prochniak led the men’s team with a silver medal-winning performance in sabre, while junior Amrit Bhinder had the best individual women’s performance amongst the Quakers, finishing fifth in epee … Penn is back in action on Jan. 21 (women) and 22 (men) when it plays host to the Philadelphia Invitational.
The Tigers participated in Penn State’s Garret Open and the Penn State Invitational to open their season … at the Garret Open, junior Edward Kelley paced the men by winning the gold in the epee, while senior foilist Alexander Mills and sophomore sabreist Philip Dershwitz took home bronze medals … Kelley became the first Princeton fencer to win gold at the Garret Open since Soren Thompson did so in 2004 (epee) … on the women’s side, junior Eliza Stone was the top finisher, earning a bronze in sabre … at the Penn State Invitational, the men and women went an identical 4-1 as each team recorded wins over Vassar, Sacred Heart, NYU and North Carolina but wound up on the wrong end of 14-13 decisions to Penn State … freshman Sharon Gao and senior Lucile Jarry piled up the most wins individually for the women, each going 12-3 … sophomore saberists Robert Stone (11-2) and Phillip Dershwitz (11-3) were the leaders on the men’s side.
The Bulldogs also opened their season at Penn State’s Garret Open, with sophomore Cornelius Saunders' fourth-place finish in epee highlighting the trip … with a 16th-place finish in epee, junior Robyn Shaffer was the top finisher on the women’s side … the men’s squad then went 4-1 at the Brandeis Invitational, including wins over North Carolina (14-13), MIT (15-12), Boston College (19-8) and Brandeis (17-10) … the women’s team earned a pair of wins at the Brandeis Invitational, downing MIT (14-13) and Brandeis (16-11) … Yale’s season will resume on Jan. 21 at the New York University Invitational.
December North America
Cup (Complete Results):
Columbia alums James Williams (second) and Jeff Spear (third) had strong showings in men’s Div. I sabre at the December North America Cup, which wrapped up on Dec. 13 in Kansas City, Mo. …. the duo earned valuable points toward the National Points Standings, which will be used to determine the U.S. Olympic roster in April of 2012 … Also at the Kansas City NAC, Princeton alumnus Maya Lawrence took gold in Div. I women’s epee, while Penn alumnus Holly Buechel finished third … current Columbia assistant coach and 2010 graduate Daria Schneider placed second in women’s sabre … in women’s foil, Harvard grad and 2008 Olympic silver medalist Emily Cross finished tied for third, while Columbia sophomore and 2011 Ivy League Rookie of the Year Nzingha Prescod placed sixth, Penn freshman Luona Wang placed seventh and one time Princeton Tiger Ambika Singh finished eighth … in men’s foil, former Columbia Lion Kurt Getz placed fifth … and in men’s epee, Columbia grad Lorenzo Casertano finished sixth.
The next North America Cup will be contested from Jan. 13-16 in Portland, Ore.