Senior captain James Hawrot looks to lead his squad in the NCAA regional event as the team hopes to qualify as many entrants into the NCAA Championship as they can. (Gil Talbot)
The Harvard men's and women's fencing teams head to Boston College in Newton, Mass., Sunday to compete in the 2012 NCAA Northeast Regional with qualification for the NCAA Championship on the line.
What's At Stake
Harvard could qualify up to 12 fencers Sunday for the NCAA National Championship, two for each of the three weapons in both genders. The national championship is awarded as a coed team title, so getting as many fencers as possible will be important for the Crimson. Harvard qualified 11 entrants last season and finished sixth at the championship.
Last Time Out
Both the men (12-6) and women (15-6) won their respective Beanpot titles over their local rivals MIT, Boston College and Brandeis Feb. 14 for the fifth-straight year. The Crimson women beat host Brandeis, 24-3, defeated Boston College, 20-7, and earned a 21-6 victory over Cambridge rival MIT. The Crimson men topped Boston College, 20-7, beat Brandeis, 22-5, and won, 21-6, over MIT to hoist the trophy for the fifth consecutive year.
Both senior Valentin Staller and freshman Brian Kaneshige were included in CollegeFencing360.com's week #4 primetime performers of the week awards list after their efforts at the Ivy League championship on Feb. 11-12, where they went a combined 23-7, helping Harvard to a second-place finish. Both Staller and Kanshige earned First-Team All-Ivy League honors.
Ivy League Recap
The No. 9 Harvard women's fencing team closed out the second day of championship play with a 2-1 record after falling to Columbia 14-13, and downing Brown and Cornell by identical scores of 18-9, finishing the tournament in third place with a 4-2 record. The Crimson also landed five its members on all-Ivy League teams.
Sophomore Alexandra Kiefer and junior Kathy Chou were named First Team All-Ivy selections for their efforts during the two-day tournament. Kiefer and Chou finished the weekend with 13-5 marks tying them for third best mark in the foil division. Senior Caroline Vloka and Felicia Sun along with freshman Emma Vaggo earned Second-Team All-Ivy selection. Vloka went 14-4 in the saber field, while Sun and Vaggo both went 13-5 in the epee division.
The No. 6 Harvard men's fencing team defeated Columbia, 15-12, and Brown 18-9, completing the Ivy League championship with a 5-1 record and second-place behind Princeton (6-0). The Crimson also earned four Ivy League awards in the process.
Seniors Valentin Staller and James Hawrot, along with freshman Brian Kaneshige earned first team all-Ivy League honors in the saber, epee, and foil, respectively. Staller went 12-3 over the two-day span, missing out on sharing the individual title by a one win. Hawrot finished third in the epee field with a 10-5 mark and Kaneshige went 11-4 to finish tied for second with Columbia's Alex Pensler and Brown's Barret Weiss. Meanwhile sophomore Lucas Lin landed on the Ivy League's second team in the foil. Lin went 9-6 in the field placing sixth.
The Harvard men's and women's fencing squads placed 14-fencers in the top 15 places across the six events. Val Staller finished second in the saber competition while Thomas Kolasa, Eric Arzoian finished third and fourth respectively. Michael Raynis earned bronze for the Crimson in the epee with teammated James Hawrot placing fourth and Ben White finishing in sixth. Tomasso Di Robliant won bronze in the foil event as Lucas Lin took home 13th while graduated senior Hao Meng came in 18th. For the women Alexandra Kiefer had the Crimson's best day claiming the title in the foil while Noam Mills came out on top in the epee. Katherine Chou finished in eighth-place while Shelby MacLeod came in 12th. Senior co-captain Felicia Sun came in sixth in the epee field while Dakota Root wrapped up in 26th place. In the saber Hayley Levitt and Caroline Vloka both finished in the top 15 as Levitt took 11th while Vloka came in 13th.
Those Harvard fencers who qualify will compete next at the NCAA Championship in Columbus, Ohio, March 22, hosted by Ohio State.