Dershwitz Leads U.S in Grand Prix

Dershwitz Leads U.S in Grand Prix

Dershwitz finishes higher than No. 1 US sabre fencer, Daryl Homer, at Grand Prix (Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Sophomore Eli Dershwitz, who is taking a year off from his studies to train for the 2016 Olympics in Rio, placed 21st among the 159 male sabre fencers from around the world at the Grand Prix last weekend held at Harvard's Gordon Indoor Track.

Dershwitz began the competition in pool play winning five of his six bouts against a variety of fencers from around the world. Originally seeded No. 19, Dershwitz dropped 12 spots to No. 31 heading into the table of 64.

His first match up in the table of 64 was against No. 34 Gabriele Foschini, of Italy, where Dershwitz took control of the strip posting a 15-9 victory. In his table of 32 bout, Dershwitz faced No. 2 Junghwan Kim, of Korea, where neither would put up without a fight. Dershwitz knotted the match at 13, but Kim tallied two-straight touches to close out the bout, 15-13.

"You can tell that he is improving with time," said head coach Peter Brand. "He was ranked No. 20 internationally and now he has moved up to No. 17. You have to compete regularly on the national stage to get consistent results like Dershwitz. This certainly gives him an edge."

Senior Aliya Itzkowitz and junior Adrienne Jarocki, who also competed at the event, were unable to make the table of 64 on Sunday. Itzkowitz finished with a 4-2 record, while Jarocki completed Saturday with a 3-3 mark.

"Both ladies are certainly great fencers," spoke Brand. "Most (athletes) in the tournament were great fencers and few are in a rigorous academic environment and fencing like our two, so for Jarocki and Itzkowitz to win the bouts that they did is a great accomplishment."

Harvard fencing will resume competition after winter break traveling to Queens, New York for the St. John's Invitational on Jan. 23.