The Crimson will send 11 fencers to compete at the national championship (photo courtesy Gil Talbot).
INDIANAPOLIS – The Harvard fencing program qualified 11 fencers to compete at the 2014 NCAA Championships the NCAA announced this afternoon. The Crimson's quest for its second national crown begins Thursday, March 20 in Columbus, Ohio at Ohio State's French Field House.
For the fifth consecutive season, Harvard will send at least 11 competitors to the championships. The field of 144 student-athletes includes six Crimson men and five Crimson women. Harvard qualified the maximum amount of fencers, two, in five of the six weapons including men's and women's epee and sabre and men's foil. Penn State, Princeton and Ohio State will send the maximum 12 entrants to Columbus, while Notre Dame and St. John's match the Crimson's number of 11.
The Crimson men, who rank fifth in the nation, will be represented by senior Michael Raynis (epee) who qualified for his fourth national tournament and junior Brian Kaneshige who will compete at his third NCAAs in the foil. Sabre fencers Eric Arzoian and junior Alexander Ryjik along with foil fencer Michael Woo with take the strip at their second NCAAs while freshman Alexander Eldeib (epee) makes his first trip.
Harvard's women's squad, who is seeded third nationally, will consist of 2010 Foil Individual National Champion senior Alexandra Kiefer who will compete for her fourth and final time for Harvard at NCAAs. Junior Emma Vaggo (epee) and sophomore Aliya Itzkowitz (sabre) are also returning to the tournament with their third appearance and second appearance, respectively. Rounding out the Crimson women fencers is sophomore epeeist Isabel DiTella and freshman sabre fencer Adrienne Jarocki who are set to take the strip at nationals for the first time.
At the Northeast Regional March 9, the Crimson collected a combined eight medals and 14 top-10 finishes, the most out of the 18 teams who had entrants. In their first collegiate regional, Jarocki and DiTella sat atop the podium in their respective weapons with gold while Itzkowitz and Kiefer each picked up silver. van Loon earned bronze to round out the women's medalist's. On the men's side, Woo captured silver while Kaneshige and Ryjik each took home bronze.
A year ago at the 2013 NCAA Championships, Harvard finished sixth overall as seven Crimson fencers earned All-American accolades – four men, three women.