CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Taking to the strip for the first time this season, the Harvard men's fencing team will travel to University Park, Pa. to compete in the Penn State Open, Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 4-5.
Harvard finished its 2016-17 campaign with a 10-9 overall record, posting a 1-4 mark against Ivy League competitors. The Crimson sent 11 fencers to the NCAA Championships, including five members of the men's team who finished fifth overall: Albert Chien, Matthew Branman, George Haglund, Eli Dershwitz and Erwin Cai. Dershwitz captured the NCAA Championship crown, defeating Wayne State's Zaid Elsissy 15-10 in the sabre category and becoming the first men's fencing team member to clinch an individual title since 2007.
The Crimson welcomes four members to the squad representing the class of 2021: epee fencers Charles Horowitz and Adrian Thein-Sandler, foil fencer Geoffrey Tourette and sabre fencer Edward Zhao.
Senior Eric Zhao and junior Eli Dershwitz will serve as captains for the 2017-18 season. Zhao returns for his second straight year as captain, finishing last season with a 41-35 overall record and placing 12th at the NCAA Regionals. Dershwitz dominated competition last year, tallying a 69-10 overall mark and capturing the titles in the NCAA Championship and the men's sabre Ivy League Championship.
At the Helm
Head coach Peter Brand enters his 20th season as head coach for the Crimson, which has posted a winning record in each of the last 16 seasons under his watch. Harvard has won eight Ivy League Championships during his tenure, while also winning the 2006 National Championship. Brand owns a 195-87 record on the men's side and has coached a combined 47 All-Americans at Harvard.
Junior Eli Dershwitz competed for the United States at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Dershwitz is the seventh Harvard fencer to compete in the Olympics, with the last being Emily Cross '09 and Noam Mills '12 who both competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The Sherborn, Massachusetts native was the top-ranked U.S. sabre fencer, and was the youngest fencer to compete for the U.S. at the 2016 Olympics at the age of 20.
The men will return to action at the Vassar tournament held in Poughkeespie, N.Y. on Dec. 3 where they face Vassar, Temple, NYU, Penn State and Sacred Heart.