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Harvard Fencing Set for NCAA Championship Run

The Particulars
Harvard sends 12 fencers to compete at the 2012 NCAA Fencing Championships, hosted by Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio. The event will last four days, Thursday through Sunday, and will crown individual champions in each gender, as well as a coed team champion.

The women's championship will take place on Thursday and Friday while the men will start on Saturday and conclude Sunday. A full list of dates and times can be found on the link below.

Championship Schedule 
ESPN 3 Mens Coverage
ESPN 3 Women's Coverage 

Harvard's Participants
Men's Epee                    
Peregrine Badger
James Hawrot

Men's Foil
Lucas Lin
Brian Kaneshige              

Men's Sabre
Eric Arzoian
Valentin Staller              

Women's Epee
Nadia Eldieb                      
Emma Vaggo

Women's Foil
Alexandra Kiefer
Katherine Chou

Women's Sabre
Kara Lee
Caroline Vloka                

The 2012 NCAA Championship
A total of 144 fencers will converge on Columbus, Ohio, for this year's NCAA fencing championship beginning Thursday. The men will fence a full round-robin (23 bouts, first to five touches) spanning the first two days, followed by the women, Friday and Saturday. Each individual win in the round-robin counts for one point towards the team score. The top four in each weapon will advance to the individual medal rounds, which are scored to 15 touches for a win. The men will go on Friday, with the women's medal rounds occurring Sunday. The medal rounds results will not count towards the team scores.

Lights, Camera, Action!
The semifinal rounds of both the men's and women's NCAA fencing championships will be aired on ESPN 3. Coverage will begin at 1:45 p.m., on Friday, March 23 for the women while the men's coverage will be aired at 1:45 p.m. on Sunday, March 25.  

Host Ohio State
This year's NCAA championships will be hosted inside two facilities, Ohio State's French Field House and St. John's Arena. This will be the third time in five years the Buckeyes have hosted the national championship, holding hosting duties in 2008 and 2011 as well. Ohio State owns two combined national titles (2004, '08) and a men's championship in 1942.

Harvard's Championship History
Both the Crimson's men's and women's programs have a rich history of team and individual champions. The teams captured their first-ever title in 2006, taking home the NCAA combined championship over runner-up Penn State. Before then, the closest either team had gotten to a national championship was when the men's team finished second in 1969 behind Ivy League rival Penn.

The men have had four individual national champions. The first was in 1987 with Jim O'Neill '88 taking the men's epee title. In 1994, Kwame Van Leeuwen '94 took home the men's foil title. Harvard's 2006 title run was aided in a major way by the performance of eventual epee champion Benjamin Ungar '08-09. Most recently, Tim Hagamen '07 stood highest on the podium in winning the men's sabre.

The women sport three individual national champions in their history, including current junior co-captain Caroline Vloka, who captured the 2010 sabre title. Emily Cross, also a 2008 silver medalist for the US at the Bejing Olympics, won the 2005 individual foil championship. The most recent individual champion was Alexandra Keifer taking home the honor in the foil competition last season.

Last Time Out
Highlighted by gold medal wins from freshman Peregrine Badger and Eric Arzoian, the sixth-ranked Harvard men's fencing team took a total of three medals and seven top-10 finishes at the NCAA Northeast Regional event held at Boston College. With the epee Badger finished in the top-spot followed by teammate Michael Raynis who took second. Senior captain James Hawrot also had a solid showing coming in fifth in the epee field. In the saber grouping, Arzoian stood at the top spot on the podium while senior captain Valentine Staller and junior Thomas Kolasa finished sixth and eighth, respectively. Alexander Ryjik came in just outside of the top-10 pleateua in the field, placing 12th. Lucas Lin was Harvard's best entrant with the foil as the White Plains, N.Y. native finished in fifth place. Freshman Brian Kaneshige he placed 12th while junior Thomas Snell finished the day 23rd.

Highlighted by a gold medal by freshman Emma Vaggo, the ninth-ranked Harvard women's fencing team brought home a total of three medals and five top-10 finishes at the NCAA Northeast Region championship, at Boston College. Vaggo finished in the top-spot in the epee competition in front of Isis Washington and Zsofia Fath from St. John's, who took second and third, respectively. Junior Nadia Eldeib also had a solid showing coming in ninth in the epee field, while senior Felicia Sun just missed cracking the top-10, coming in 12th. In the saber group, Caroline Vloka took home bronze finishing behind Anna Limbach of St. John's and Essane Diedro of Columbia, who placed first and second, respectively. Teammates, freshman Kara Lee, and senior Hayley Levitt finished 14th and 18th. Freshman Alexandra Kiefer secured a silver medal with the foil, as she was the Crimson's top performer in the weapon. Junior Kathy Chou followed close behind as she finished in seventh to round out the field for Harvard.

National Recognition
A total of two Harvard fencers have received national recognition this season from collegefencing360.com. Freshman Brian Kanshige and senior Valentin Staller were named Primetime Performers of the week, announced on Feb. 13

Staller went a 12-3 at the 2012 Ivy League championships coming in second place in the saber field while Kaneshige also had a stellar day recording a 11-4 mark and tying for second place with Alex Pensler from Columbia and Barret Weiss from Brown.