No. 6 Men’s Fencing Travels to St. John's Invitational

No. 6 Men’s Fencing Travels to St. John's Invitational

Harvard competes in St. John's tournament for seventh-straight year (Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard men's fencing will compete in its second tournament of the year when it heads to the St. John's Invitational January 24. The Crimson will take on Columbia, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and the host Red Storm.

Last Time Out
The Crimson opened its 2014-15 schedule at the Tradition Tournament, hosted by Sacred Heart. Harvard toppled the host Pioneers (19-8), New York University (21-6) and Vassar (21-6), but fell to Penn State (16-11) to start the season 3-1.

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Season Preview

Scouting Columbia
Columbia (6-1) enters the St. John's Invitational after going 3-1 at the Penn State Invitational, falling only to Penn. To this point, the Lions have defeated Stevens, NJIT, Florida, North Carolina, Penn State and Haverford. The Crimson has dropped the last two meetings against Columbia, the last a 14-13 defeat at the Ivy League Round Robins.

Scouting Notre Dame
Notre Dame (4-1) has only competed in the Buckeye Elite Cup as a team, where it defeated Penn, North Carolina, Princeton and Ohio State. The Fighting Irish's lone loss came at the hands of Penn State in a 14-13 decision. Harvard is winless in 10 contests with Notre Dame.

Scouting Ohio State
Ohio State (12-1) has hosted two tournaments this season and had a great deal of early success. In the OSU Duals, the Buckeyes went an undefeated 8-0 with wins over Case Western Reserve, Indiana, Cleveland State, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State and Purdue. Only Notre Dame bested Ohio State at the Buckeye Elite Cup. Harvard is 2-4 against Ohio State all-time.

Scouting Penn State
Defending national champion Penn State (9-3) toppled Princeton, Notre Dame and North Carolina in their opening tournament, and faced off against Harvard earlier this season at the Tradition Tournament in Fairfield, Connecticut. The Nittany Lions recorded the win, 16-11, and are 13-5 all-time against the Crimson.

Scouting St. John's
St. John's (5-0) has only competed at the Brandeis Invitational, where it went undefeated after posting victories over Boston College, Brown, MIT, Yale and host Brandeis. The Red Storm is 9-6 against the Crimson in program history, and won last season's matchup 17-10.

Leading the Way
Head coach Peter Brand enters his 16th season at the helm for the Crimson, posting a winning record over the last 13 seasons under his watch. Harvard has won six Ivy League Championships during his tenure, while also winning the 2006 National Championship. Brand owns a 162-73 record on the men's side and has coached a combined 47 All-Americans at Harvard.

Fresh Faces
Harvard has added two freshmen to the 2014-15 roster in sabre fencers Eli Dershwitz and Eric Zhao. Dershwitz has been dominant on the international circuit, winning gold at the Junior World Cup in Budapest earlier this year and in Sosnowiec in 2013. Zhao has fenced internationally as well, competing in Poland in 2013 and placing sixth at the Cadet North American Cup in 2011.

Aye Aye, Captain
Brian Kaneshige '15 and Duncan O'Brien '16 were named the captains for the 2014-15 campaign, marking the 19th time in program history that the Crimson has had two captains. Both enter their first year as team captains.

Last Season
Harvard went 12-6 during the 2013-14 season, finishing fifth as a team at the NCAA Championships. Returners Brian Kaneshige and Michael Woo, in addition to departed seniors Michael Raynis and Eric Arzoian earned All-America status last year, while junior Jerry Chang earned first team All-Ivy recognition.

Harvard returns seven letterwinners from last year's squad:  Sabre Duncan O'Brien; foil fencers Chang, Kaneshige, Stephen Mageras, and Woo; and epeeists in Alexander Eldeib and Nicolas Simko.

Coming Up
Harvard returns to competition February 8-9 at the Ivy League Round Robins in New York. The Crimson went 4-1 at the event a year ago.