Crimson Fencers Head to New York City for St. John's Super Cup

Crimson Fencers Head to New York City for St. John's Super Cup

Sophomore Tommasso di Robilant has been strong for the Harvard men in the foil event (Harvard Athletic Communications).

The Particulars
The top-five ranked Harvard men's and women's fencing team get the 2011 portion of their schedule underway as they head to the Queens borough of New York City for the St. John's Super Cup to take on some of the nation's best in last season's national runner-up and tournament host St. John's, Ivy League rival Columbia, top-ranked Notre Dame, this season's NCAA Championship host Ohio State and defending national champion Penn State.

Last Time Out
The Harvard men's fencing team went a perfect 5-0 at the Sacred Heart Invitational Dec. 5, including edging the defending national champion Penn State, 14-13. Junior co-captain Valentin Staller went undefeated on the day in the saber competition, including a win over Penn State's Alexsander Ochocki, the 2009 men's saber individual champion.

The Harvard women's fencing team also competed the Sacred Heart Invitational Dec. 5 and saw Freshman Alexandra Kiefer fall once in the foil event and junior co-captain Hayley Levitt also lost one duel in the saber competition as the two led their team to a flawless 5-0 record, including a perfect, 27-0, shutout of North Carolina and a 16-11 defeat of defending national champion Penn State.

In the Rankings
The year's first national rankings have been released and the Crimson are recognized as one of the top three teams in the nation on both the men's and women's side. The men come into this weekend's competition ranked No. 2 behind No. 1 Notre Dame and ahead of No. 3 Penn State, whom the Crimson defeated, 14-13, Dec. 5 at the Sacred Heart Invitational. The men are led by junior co-captain Valentin Staller in the saber and freshman Michael Raynis in the epee. 

The Harvard women are ranked No. 3 behind top-ranked Notre Dame and defending national champion No. 2 Penn State. The women have already defeated the Nittany Lions this season, a 16-11 victory at the Sacred Heart Invitational Dec. 5. So far the women's leaders have included junior co-captain Caroline Vloka in the saber and freshman Alexandra Kiefer in the foil.

About St. John's
The Red Storm men will be led by defending national champions Daryl Homer (saber) and Marat Israelian (epee) along with All-Americans Sean Buckley (saber) and Nicholas Vomero (epee). Last week, Vomero captured the North American Cup in Dallas. On the women's side, All-Americans Dagmara Wozniak (saber), Evgeniya Kirpicheva (foil) and Irina Koroleva (foil) will lead the way.

About Notre Dame

The Fighting Irish men and women both begin the 2011 calendar year as the No. 1 teams in the country after Notre Dame finished third at the national championship in 2010. Notre Dame's returning roster for the 2011 title drive includes 13 All-Americans, who have combined for a total of 25 All-America citations and two individual NCAA Championships, including most recently Gerek Meinhardt's foil gold at the 2010 Championships.

About Columbia
Several Lions fenced last weekend at the Dallas North American Cup, including freshman Nzingha Prescod, who reached the finals of the senior women's foil competition. Other Columbia fencers at the North American Cup included Sammy Roberts (15th, senior women's saber), Loweye Diedro (23rd, senior women's saber), Essane Diedro (32nd, senior women's saber), Alen Hadzic (36th, senior men's epee) and Alex Pensler (28th, senior men's foil).

About Ohio State
Returning 2010 NCAA tournament participants for the Buckeyes include Bryan Cheney and Max Stearns (men's saber), Igor Tolkachev and Marco Canevari (men's epee), Margarita Tschomakova and Alison Miller (women's saber) and Oksana Dmytruk and Allison Henvick (women's foil). The Buckeyes have finished in the Top 5 at the NCAA Championships in each of the past eight seasons. Ohio State is 26-0 in duals this season, compiling all 26 wins against varsity and club opponents at the Ohio State Duals in November. 

About Penn State
The defending national champions currently rank No. 2 and No. 3 in women's and men's fencing, respectively. Penn State participated in the Sacred Heart Invitational Dec. 5 along with the Crimson. The women's team went 5-1 with the men's team going 4-2. Individually, Monika Aksamit went 17-1 in the women's saber. Returning National Champion Margherita Guzzi Vincenti and Alyssa Vongries went 16-3 and 11-1, respectively, in the women's epee. In the men's foil, sophomore Daniel Gomez-Tanamachi generated great success ending the day with an 11-2 record. Anthony Green and Samuel Larsen both went 7-4 in the epee competition.

Up Next
Harvard will make a short trip across town to Cambridge rival MIT for the MIT Invitational Feb. 6.