CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The No. 1 Harvard men's fencing team will travel to Princeton, N.J. this weekend, Feb. 10-11, for the Ivy League Championships. The Crimson heads into the weekend with an 10-1 record. The tournament will be broadcast live on the Ivy League Network.
Last Time Out
Harvard (10-1) hosted NYU in its first and only home dual match of the season, defeating the Violets 14-13 in a tight bout. The men's foil team posted the best record at 6-3, led by Duncan Rheingans-Yoo and Geoffrey Tourette who each registered a plus-six touch differential. The duo now both fair to the top of the Crimson's line up in overall touch variance, coming in at plus-69 and plus-62 on the year, respectively.
Sophomore sabre fencer George Haglund currently tops the Crimson in touch-differential, ringing in at high plus-84. Foil fencers Tourette and Rheingans-Yoo follow closely behind with plus-62 and plus-69, respectively. Charles Horowitz rounds out the top for epee at plus-54 in his freshman year.
Eli Dershwitz leads all Harvard fencers with a 14-1 record. The junior sabre fencer has been a force to be reckoned with this season, recently winning his second Senior World Cup gold medal of the year in Italy this past week.
Scouting the Ivy League Championships
At last year's Ivy League Championships, the Crimson finished fifth and tallied a 1-4 record over the course of the tournament. Harvard topped Brown 20-7, but fell to Columbia, Penn, Princeton and Yale. Junior Eli Dershwitz, who was named to the All-Ivy first team, led Harvard with a 14-1 record and plus-44 touch differential. Teammates George Haglund and Eric Zhao were also named to the second team.
Harvard is currently on a nine-bout win streak through the second half of its season. Starting at the Tradition Tournament back on Dec. 3 where the men picked up three wins in a row, the Crimson excelled at the St. John's Invitational on Jan. 20, sweeping the competition and adding five wins to its record. Harvard most recently added a 14-13 win against NYU to get to nine.
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 is in the midst of 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.
Harvard will quickly return to action on Feb. 14 for the Beanpot tournament. The Crimson will face host Brandeis, MIT and Boston College and goes for its 11th Beanpot title.