Staller’s Championship Bid Comes Up Short; Harvard Fencing Finishes Sixth at NCAA Tournament
Staller made an exiciting run towards an NCAA individual title making his way to the championship bout, but fell to Aleksander Ochocki from Penn State on Sunday. (Gil Talbot)
COLUMBUS, Ohio- Senior Valentin Staller was looking to put a final exclamation point on his Harvard career by claiming a individual title at the NCAA championships this weekend, but came up short in the final round, as Harvard concluded its bid for a national title in Columbus, Ohio, Sunday. Staller earned a berth in the semifinal round placing in the top-four spots, and played his way to the championship round before falling to Penn State's Aleksander Ochocki, 15-11. Harvard finished the tournament with six All-American honors.
Staller was Harvard's most successful entrant for the men's team as he came in second, after he defeated No. 1 seeded Max Stearns from Ohio State to gain entry into the championship round. Staller had a +22 scoring differential. Sophomore Eric Arzoian, the Crimson's other saber entrant, finished the weekend in 18th place with nine victories.
Freshman Peregrine Badger had a successful NCAA debut as he finished the weekend in sixth place, earning second team All-American honors, tallying 16 wins with a +19 scoring differential. Senior James Hawrot was Harvard's other epeeist, concluding the tournament in 20th place with eight wins.
Sophomore Lucas Lin was the Crimson's best competitor with the foil as he earned second team All-American accolades, totaling 14 victories through the weekend. Freshman Brian Kaneshige wasn't too far behind as he earned All-American honorable mention with his 13 victory performance which was good for 12th place.
The women's team also had some notable performances as Caroline Vloka, who finished fourth in the saber field earned second-team All-American honors, while sophomore Alexandra Kiefer took 11th with the foil and was All-American honorable mention.
Harvard as a team ended the tournament in sixth place with 136 points (men 74, women 62). Host Ohio State took the NCAA title tallying 182 points between its women's and men's teams. Princeton came in second and had the best finish of its Ancient Eight peers, while Notre Dame (160), St. John's (158) and Penn (151) rounded out the top five.