The Crimson will face six different squads in its season opener (photo courtesy Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard men's fencing team will open its 111th season of action Sunday, Dec. 8 when it travels to Fairfield, Conn., for the Tradition Tournament. The field of competition includes New York, Penn State, Princeton, Sacred Heart, Stevens and Vassar. Fencing is set to begin at 10 a.m.
Harvard captured its eighth Ivy League crown last season with an unblemished 5-0 record against Ancient Eight foes with six fencers earning All-Ivy honors. The Crimson posted a 13-5 overall mark and helped Harvard take sixth at the NCAA Championships where four fencers garnered All-America accolades.
Related Link: Season Recap: Harvard Men's Fencing Takes Home Ivy Crown
Nine letterwinners return from the Ivy League championship team from a year ago including foil fencers junior Brian Kaneshiege and sophomore Michael Woo, who each earned second team All-America and first team All-Ivy accolades. Kaneshiege also captured gold at the 2013 NCAA Northeast Regional championships. Last season's first team All-Ivy foilist, sophomore Jerry Chang, is back. Senior epeeist Michael Raynis, who garnered second team All-Ivy and an All-American honorable mention selection last season, returns to Cambridge with his classmates Eric Arzoian and Lucas Lin for their final season. Also returning is junior Hikari Senju and sophomores Duncan O'Brien and Nicolas Simko.
In with the New
Two recruits were added to the men's fencing roster for this season; Alexander Eldeib and Stephen Mageras. Eldeib, who hails from Burke, Va., will compete in the foil, while Mageras, who calls Darien, Conn., home, is an epeeist.
Related Link: Men's Fencing Welcomes Two Freshman for 2013-14 Season
Trust in Brand
Peter Brand enters his 15th season at the helm of the Crimson. Under his guidance, Harvard captured its first NCAA team championship in 2006, won a combined four Intercollegiate Fencing Association three-weapon titles, two IFA six-weapon championships and a combined seven Ivy League titles – three by the women and four by the men. He also has coached 37 All-Americans in his time behind Harvard's bench. Brand sports a 147-61 overall record on the men's side and a 39-27 mark against Ivy League foes.
New Sideline Addition
A new face has been added to the Harvard fencing staff as Jed Dupree joins the program as an assistant coach. He came to Cambridge after working as the head foil coach at Empire United Fencing. Dupree's competitor resume boasts prestige including an Olympian at the 2004 Athens Games, seven-time member of the U.S. National Team and two-time men's foil national champion in 2001 and 2005, respectively.
Related Link: Dupree Joins Harvard Fencing Staff as Assistant Coach
For the second straight season seniors Lucas Lin and Michael Raynis will lead the Crimson as co-captains. The duo is the first pair to serve two consecutive seasons as co-captains since Benjamin Schmidt '03 and David Wollenberg '03 did so for the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons.
For the second straight year, Jerry Chang earned a gold medal at the November North Atlantic Championships. The sophomore punched his ticket to compete at the Junior World Championships when he overcame a field of 174 foil fencers Nov. 8-10. In a dramatic gold medal bout, Chang downed Nobuo Bravo of Princeton 15-14 to capture first.
NYU opened the 2013-14 campaign with a commanding 23-4 victory over Drew before falling to Stevens Institute of Technology, 14-13, to carry a 1-1 record into the tournament. The Violet is strongest in the foil with junior Stephan Teng holding an unblemished 6-0 mark. Sophomore epeeist Jon Philippou sports a 5-1 record while senior Enrique Cavazos sits at 4-2. In the sabre, NYU is led by freshmen Quiten Burgunder and Sander Siegel with 3-2 and 3-2 records, respectively.
All-Time Versus the Violets
Harvard looks for its fifth straight victory over NYU, despite trailing the all-time series that began in 1924, 12-32-1. Saturday's meeting marks the tenth time the Crimson will square off against the Violets at a neutral site with Harvard holding a 6-3 edge on impartial strips.
About Penn State
The Nittany Lions sent eight fencers to the Temple Open Oct. 27-28 to open their season. Penn State's two-weapon victory was paced by five freshmen who each took spots in the top-five in their respective weapons. Epeeist Spencer Amann and foil fencer Howie Chan claimed first in their respective weapons. All Nittany Lions that competed finished in the top-15 of their respected events.
All-Time Versus the Nittany Lions
In a series that began in 1987, Harvard trails Penn State, 3-11. The two programs last met in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., in 2012 when the Nitty Lions edged the Crimson, 18-9, to record their fourth straight win over Harvard.
About Sacred Heart
The Pioneers bring a 10-1 record into competition dropping its lone match to Brown, 15-12, in Northeast Fencing Conference Action. After falling behind, 12-6, Sacred Heart rallied a comeback in the final round to bring the score to 13-11 with the final three bouts remaining, but in the end the Bears were too much and handed the Pioneers their single tally in the loss column this season.
All-Time Against the Pioneers
Since the series began in 2001, Harvard has not lost to Sacred Heart to hold a 7-0 mark. The program's met last on neutral ground in 2012 when the Crimson defeated the Pioneers, 24-3.
The Ducks carry a 13-3 record into the tournament after sweep the five school field at the MACFA tournament hosted by John Hopkins Nov. 24. Stevens is led by its foil squad that includes team captain Anthony Worthington who has tallied 16 victories. The senior is joined by junior Jorge Rojas who has recorded the most tallies in the win column for the Ducks with a 27-6 record. Kirk Visser and Joseph Falvo pace the epee and sabre squads, respectively. Visser holds a 20-10 mark while Falvo sits at 19-10. Prior to competition on Sunday, Stevens will host Hunter College Friday, Dec. 6.
All-Time Against the Ducks
Harvard and Stevens have met on the strip once before, Feb. 14, 1981, with the Crimson coming out as the victor, 18-9.
The Brewers enter the weekend at 8-4 after downing five opponents at their home opener, the Matt Lampell Hudson River Invite, Nov. 16. Vassar posted 20-plus bout victories to claim the invite. Freshman Ry Farley leads an epee squad that has notched a75-33 (.694) mark with a 29-7 record. Foil fencers are paced by senior Matt Stienscheneider who sits at 30-4 while sabre fencers are led by sophomore Zach Wilson who posted a 20-6 record.
All-Time Against the Brewers
Harvard sports a perfect 8-0 mark in the all-time series, which dates back to 1989. Last season, the Crimson bested the Brewers, 24-3.
What's to Come
Harvard takes a seven-week break before returning to competition after the New Year, when the Crimson makes the trip to Queens, N.Y., for the St. John's Invitational Jan. 26.