NEW HAVEN, Conn. - On Sunday, the men's fencing team will compete at the Garret Open, hosted by Penn State University in State College, PA. Unlike at most tournaments of the season, fencers compete as individuals rather than as a team. The tournament consists of several rounds of pools, during which fencers compete against all other fencers in their pool, followed by longer elimination rounds to determine who brings home a medal.
Sophomore and foil squad captain Cameron Allen anticipates a good showing at the Garret Open, where he placed sixth last year, "I'm extremely excited about our team's potential this year. We have a very talented foil squad including a strong freshman class who all bring a positive attitude and a great work ethic. We have high expectations for ourselves this year and are eager to fence in our first tournament of the year this weekend." The first years share his enthusiasm. Daniel Li describes himself as "excited but nervous," because of the high level of competition at the upcoming tournament.
Li, joining his sister at Yale, is originally from Maple, Ontario. When he came to Yale, Li had already developed strong fencing skills that had earned him a place on the Canadian cadet team, he is looking forward to training and improving with his teammates. Also joining the foil squad this year is Earnest Chen, from Weston, CT, whose positive attitude and strong technique have already served him well on the national circuit. Before coming to Yale, he made the top eight in Division 1 at every North American Cup. The final first year joining the foil squad is Francesco Spirli, from Bologna, Italy. His training at Silver City Fencing Club is an asset to the squad.
Veteran members of the team have been doing their best to make their new teammates feel welcome. Aiden Ahn, a junior, began his Yale career strong, placing eighth at the Ivy League Championships. He's working hard to make his third season on the team the best yet. Seniors Lance Chantiles and Daniel Flesch are looking forward to seeing the new members' energy and talent bolstering the team.
The epee squad is welcoming two first years to its ranks. Safi Haider, hailing from Alpharetta, GA, brings with him years of success on the national circuit, success he hopes to continue in college. John Kim, a first year from Burke, VA is also looking forward to competing for Yale.
Returning to the team are formidable athletes like junior Isaac Shelanski, this year's captain who placed third at the NCAA Championships last year, where he represented Yale along with senior Jonathan Xu. At last year's Garret Open, Xu took sixth place, a finish he hopes to top this year. Fellow senior Skyler Chin also performed well at the Garret Open last year, taking twelfth in a hotly-contested field. Also returning to the team is sophomore Jake Mezey, whose experience and calm under pressure will be much appreciated in the upcoming season.
The saber squad has strengthened its numbers with four talented new first years.
Of the first years, Kevin Callahan, hailing from Glen Rock, NJ, has already proven himself in North American Cups around the country and his skill on the strip will be appreciated in the upcoming season. Elijah Hong, from Nashville, TN, came to Yale ready to fence after having represented the United States at a World Cup event. From Carmichael, CA, Andrew Zhang, a formidable competitor at both North American and World Cups, will also be strengthening the saber squad. Nicolas Del Vecchio, from Silver Spring, MD, is also joining the Bulldogs with hopes of a successful season.
They are joined by four returning members: sophomore Aleks Butovetskiy, junior Justin Jin, senior Arthur Befumo, and senior squad captain Walter Musgrave. According to Musgrave, who placed 13th at the Garret Open last year, the Elis "Have a really strong group of freshmen" and he is "excited to see how they do." Musgrave predicts that the saber squad will perform best of Yale's squads this weekend.
Fencing begins at 9 AM on Sunday, November 4 in State College, Pa.
Live results can be found here.