CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Returning to the strip for the first time after nearly a month, the Harvard men's fencing team will travel to Queens, N.Y. to compete in the St. John's Invitational. The Crimson will face competitors from five teams, including host St. John's, Columbia, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Penn State.
Last Time Out
Harvard opened dual play at the Tradition Tournament on Dec. 3. The team posted an overall 4-1 record, registering wins against NJIT, Penn State, Sacred Heart and Vassar. The Crimson narrowly fell to NYU, 13-14. The men's foil fencers excelled in competition, each earning final records with two losses or less.
Scouting the Field
The Crimson was challenged at last year's St. John's Invitational, finishing the tournament with a 1-4 mark. The men walked away with a 16-11 win over Penn State, before falling to Columbia (13-14), Notre Dame (12-15), Ohio State (12-15) and St. John's (13-14). Junior Eli Dershwitz led the men with a plus-24 touch differential.
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 Ivy League Network
The Ivy League Network returns for a fifth season as the home for all live streaming and on-demand video content for each of the conference's eight institutions. Broadcast in full HD and featuring a live score bug and play-by-play and color commentary, the Ivy League Network provides fans with unprecedented access to the Ancient Eight.
Multiple subscription options are available to fans, including school-specific and league-wide passes. Learn more about the Ivy League Network by downloading the Ivy League Network app!
The men will return home on Sunday, Feb. 4 to host NYU in its only home bout of the season. The bout will be broadcast on the Ivy League Network at 1 p.m.