2013 Fencing Round-Robins Set for This Weekend
PRINCETON, N.J. -- The championship season for the Ivy League's fencing squads begins in earnest this weekend as the teams head to Cambridge, Mass., for the 2013 Ivy League Round-Robins, which will be contested at Harvard's Gordon Track on Saturday and Sunday, March 2 and 3.
Action begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday, when four rounds of matches will take place. Fencing on Sunday then begins with round five at 10 a.m., followed by rounds six and seven and the annual awards ceremony, which is slated for 3:45 p.m.
There are plenty of great fencing story lines to look forward to. Princeton looks to defend its sweep of the men's and women's titles from last year. No team has won back-to-back men's titles since Harvard did it in 2006 and 2007, which ended a run of five-straight titles for Columbia. On the women's side, Princeton is going for its fourth-straight title -- a feat accomplished only once before in Ivy history when Penn won six straight between 1983 and 1988.
The Tigers enter the championship as the third-ranked men's team and the second-ranked women's team in the collegefencing360.com polls (as of February 6). Columbia's women, who finished second at the Ivy Round-Robins last year, is ranked third in the poll. The Lions have been strong all season, including wins over top-ranked Notre Dame and No. 4 Ohio State at the NYU Duals on Jan. 27.
On the men's side, close behind Princeton in the poll are Columbia, Harvard and Penn at Nos. 6-8 and Brown and Yale are two of the top teams in the "also receiving votes" category, which could make for the men's championship being one of the closest contested in quite a while. On the women's side apart from Princeton at No. 2 and Columbia at No. 3, Harvard is eighth, Penn is at No. 10 and Cornell and Brown are near the top among votegetters outside of the Top 10.
In all, 14 All-Ivy honorees from a year ago return on the men's side -- seven first-team selections and seven second-team selections. That statement alone should make for a highly-competitive weekend. But then, on the women's side, 18 of the 20 All-Ivy honorees return from last year -- nine first-team selections and nine second-team selections. A field of 32 returning all-League selections from 2012 ought to make the 2013 Round-Robins one of the best ever.
Princeton's Jonathan Yergler, the national champion in epee leads the Tigers. He finished second in epee at the Round-Robins last year (11-3) to teammate Edward Kelly, who was the top in men's epee last year at 12-2. He also returns for the Tigers.
Columbia's William Spear and Alen Hadzic return. Spear, the Most Outstanding Performer and Most Outstanding Rookie last year, was the top in men's sabre at the Round-Robins a year ago with a 13-2 mark. He also finished fifth at the NCAA Championship, narrowly missing out on a semifinal slot.
Rebounding from a disappointing showing at the Round-Robins last year, Hadzic was second at the NCAA Championship in epee, losing to Yergler in the gold medal match, 15-8.
Harvard's Brian Kaneshige returns after a successful 2012 campaign. He tied for second in foil last year with an 11-4 mark at Round-Robins.
Individually on the women's side, Penn returns foil national runner-up Lona Wang. Wang finished fourth in the foil preliminaries last year at the NCAA meet and then upset top-seeded Mona Shaito in the semifinal round. Wang was second in foil at the Round-Robins.
Princeton returns several key fencers from last year. Ambika Singh swept Most Outstanding Performer and Most Outstanding Rookie honors at the Round-Robins. She won foil last year with an impressive 17-1 mark. Katharine Holmes won epee at Round-Robins and finished third at the national championship last year. In addition, Eliza Stone has won at least a share of the sabre title two years in a row at Round-Robins, sharing the title in 2011 and winning it last year with a 16-2 mark.
Harvard returns the foil duo of Alexandra Kiefer and Kathy Chou. Kiefer was the national champion in 2011 and finished tied for third at Round-Robins and 11th at the national meeet last year. Chou tied with Kiefer for third place at Round-Robins last year.
Nzingha Prescod, the 2011 Round-Robins champion in foil, returns for Columbia. She went 14-1 in the Lions' impressive showing at the NYU Duals. Loweye Diedro (11-1) and Jackie Dubrovich (11-1) were also impressive at NYU.
As with last year's event, the head coaches will again select the Most Outstanding Performer and Most Outstanding Rookie at the conclusion of the event, while the top-three finishers in each weapon (based on winning percentage and appearing in at least 75 percent of a team's matches) will garner first team All-Ivy accolades and the next three will be second team All-Ivy selections.