CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Seeking its 11th straight Beanpot Championship title, the No. 6 Harvard women's fencing team will close out its regular season this Wednesday, Feb. 14. Hosted by MIT, Harvard will also face Boston College and Brandeis. The Crimson heads into the tournament with a 13-6 overall record, moving to 4-2 in Ivy play.
Last Time Out
Harvard claimed third place at the Ivy League Championships last weekend, Feb. 10-11, in Princeton, N.J. Securing a 4-2 record, the Crimson tallied wins over Brown (19-8), Cornell (17-10), Penn (18-9) and Yale (14-13), but fell to No. 2 Columbia (19-8) and No. 5 Princeton (18-9). Members of the epee squad had a successful weekend, registering two 9-0 sweeps against Brown and Penn. Junior Shawn Wallace and freshman Cindy Gao led the way, recording 16-2 and 15-3 records, respectively.
Cindy Gao and Shawn Wallace were named to the All-Ivy first team in women's epee after placing third at the Ivy League Championships last weekend. This is the first All-Ivy first team honors for both Gao and Wallace.
Freshman Cindy Gao tops the Crimson's epee line up this season with a 46-8 record and is followed closely behind by Shawn Wallace at 51-18. Overall, the foil squad makes up three of the top five fencers for Harvard with Liana Henderson-Semel leading at 51-22, MacKenzie Lawrence staying steady at 48-26 and Natalie Yang coming in at 41-25. Marta Lasota and Gabrielle Tartakovsky pace sabre fencers, registering 43-29 and 30-26 records, respectively.
Scouting the Beanpot
The Crimson took home the Beanpot title for the 10th time in a row last year at Boston College. Harvard defeated all three of its opponents, including wins over BC (16-11), Brandeis (21-6) and MIT (23-4). Returners Shawn Wallace and Sharon Ra both posted 8-1 records in epee at last year's tournament, while Marta Lasota and Gabrielle Tartakovsky went 7-2 in sabre. Harvard has claimed the Beanpot trophy every year since the inception of the tournament in 2007.
About the Beanpot Series
The fencing Beanpot has been played since 2007 and Harvard has claimed the title in all ten years, beating out cross town rivals Boston College, Brandeis and MIT. Harvard leads the series against all Beanpot opponents, with its longest streak against Boston College with 18 victories.
|vs. Boston College||18-0, Harvard leads||Feb. 16||W, 16-11||W18|
|vs. Brandeis||32-6, Harvard leads||Feb. 16||W, 21-6||W13|
|vs. MIT||30-12, Harvard leads||Feb. 16||W, 23-4||W11|
Staying Steady at #6
In the most recent CollegeFencing360 poll, Harvard was ranked at No. 6. This marks the 15th-consecutive season that the women's program has been ranked within the top 10. The women's team has been ranked in every CollegeFencing360 poll since 2005.
Harvard finished its 2016-17 campaign with a 14-8 overall record, posting a 3-3 mark against Ivy League competitors. The Crimson sent 11 fencers to the NCAA Championships, including six members of the women's team who finished fifth overall: Gabrielle Tartakovsky, MacKenzie Lawrence, Sharon Ra and Shawn Wallace, along with graduated seniors Adrienne Jarocki and Hali Nelson. Placing fifth overall at the NCAA Championships, Harvard clinched its highest placement since the 2013-14 season.
Senior MacKenzie Lawrence and junior Sharon Ra will serve as captains for the 2017-18 season. Lawrence finished last season with 44 wins and a 21st-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Ra concluded her sophomore season with a total of 63 wins, eight of which were at the NCAA Championships. Both Lawrence and Ra appeared at the Ivy League Championships last year, helping the Crimson earn a fourth-place finish.
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 250-82 record on the women's side and has coached a combined 47 All-Americans at Harvard.
Harvard will prepare for the NCAA Regionals in Waltham, Mass. on March 12.