Pictured: James Hawrot and the Crimson will face five nationally ranked teams at the St. John's Invitational. (Gil Talbot)
The Harvard men’s and women’s fencing teams travel to New York, N.Y. this weekend to compete in the St. John’s Invitational along with five other nationally ranked teams. At the meet, the Crimson will face Columbia, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and St. John’s.
Last Time Out:
The Harvard women’s fencing team’s previous event was a dominating 24-3 victory over Tufts, Dec. 3. The Crimson, which is ranked third in the country, swept the foil and sabre rounds. Seniors Katherine Chou, Arielle Pensler and Anna Podolsky, junior Yunsoo Kim, sophomore Hayley Levitt, and freshmen Elena Helgiu and Felicia Sun all posted 3-0 records against the Jumbos.
The Crimson men’s last time out was at the Harvard Invitational Nov. 29. No. 7 Harvard earned four victories and dropped two decisions on the day. Sophomore Valentin Staller led the way for the Crimson with 16 wins in the sabre while freshman Thomas Kolasa racked up 13 victories in the sabre.
Scouting the Crimson:
The Harvard men enter the event with a 4-2 record and ranked No. 7 in the United States Fencing Coaches Association national poll. The Crimson has defeated North Carolina, NYU, Sacred Heart and Vassar, but lost to Penn State and Princeton.
On the women’s side, Harvard is ranked No. 3 in the USFCA national poll with an 7-0 record. Sophomore co-captains Caroline Vloka and Noam Mills pace the Crimson with records of 18-0 and 14-0, respectively.
Sizing Up the Competition:
All ten Crimson opponents this weekend are ranked in the USFCA national poll or are receiving votes. Penn State is the top ranked team nationally in both the men’s and women’s polls. Notre Dame is the No. 2 men’s team and No. 2 women’s squad. Ohio State is ranked third in the men’s poll and sixth in the women’s. The Columbia men’s squad is the No. 5 team and the women are the No. 4 team in the land. St. John’s is ranked No. 8 in the men’s national poll and is receiving votes in the women’s poll.
Penn State, the defending national champion, owns a 5-0 record for the men’s team and 4-1 in the women’s entering the St. John’s Invitational. The women’s only loss of the season came at the hands of the Crimson at the Harvard Invitational, Nov. 29, a 14-13 decision. Columbia, Notre Dame, Ohio State and St. John’s will all play their first dual matches of the season Jan. 23.
Harvard travels down the road to Waltham, Mass. to compete in dual matches against Brandeis, Duke and Yeshiva, Feb. 6.