STATE COLLEGE, PA – At one of their toughest tournaments of the season, the men's fencing team finished the day with an impressive 4-1 record.
After an unfortunate 17-10 loss against perennial powerhouse Penn State, the Bulldogs enjoyed a 24-3 victory over Haverford. The saber squad won eight of their nine bouts, with both Nicolas Del Vecchio and Andrew Zhang going undefeated. Foilist Earnest Chen also went undefeated, and epeeists Skyler Chin, Safi Haider, Malcolm Miller, Isaac Shelanski, and Jonathan Xu ensured that their squad swept their bouts against the Black Squirrels.
Perhaps the most exciting match-up of the day was when Yale faced off against the reigning Ivy League Champions, Columbia. Though the Bulldogs went into the match well aware of their opponents' skill, they didn't let that phase them. Haider was impressed by the "winning mentality" that his teammates demonstrated as they pulled out a 16-11 victory. Several fencers swept their bouts against the Lions. Cameron Allen, Earnest Chen, and Andrew Zhang all went undefeated.
"I was very proud of how our team competed and supported each other; we fenced the best we have as a team all season and our result showed this," said Allen.
At the Brandeis Invitational, Yale lost to UNC and wanted a chance to prove themselves again. After weeks of serious training, the Bulldogs were victorious 20-7. On all three squads, fencers went undefeated. Saber fencers Elijah Hong and Walter Musgrave went undefeated, as did foilists Allen and Chen, and epeeists Haider, Miller, and Shelanski.
Haider and Xu both went undefeated against Duke in their last match-up of the day. Xu said that he was "very proud of Epee squad's performance against Duke." Despite the strength of their opponents, the Yale epee squad managed to go 6-3. Xu thought that the team as a whole "stepped up in a major way" in order to win a narrow 14-13 victory against the Blue Devils.
"I'm really impressed with how the whole team performed against top competition like Columbia and Duke. I felt encouraged by the upperclassmen on the epee squad and how they approached their bouts with a winning mentality" said Haider.
After such a successful competition, Hong is feeling good about what is to come. "We're competing at a high level, and if we continue to improve, we can continue to create solid wins against other strong teams."