Harvard's J.V. fencing squad humbled MIT, 19-8, Tuesday night to win its fourth consecutive match and run its record to 4-1 for the season.
The contest, if one could call it that, was never particularly close, as the Crimson jumped out to lead early in first-round action, and was never challenged the rest of the way.
Steye Hobbs, John Willinsky and Eric Read paced the young squad, sweeping three bouts apiece against a thoroughly outclassed MIT team. Hobbs dominated sabre competition while Willinsky, in foil, and Read, in epee, never allowed more than two touches in any single bout while putting together perfect performances in the match.
The contest underscored the strengths and weaknesses of the Crimson fencing program as a whole. The foil and epee teams, which, according to coach Edo Marion, are Harvard's forte, each ran up 7-2 bouting records. In sabre, however, other than the performance of Hobbs, Crimson performers were able to pick up only two wins, barely edging MIT in the weapon, 5-4.
The Tuesday victory came hot on the heels of a double triumph at Princeton last weekend, in which Harvard's J.V. team topped both the Princeton J.V. and freshman squads in successive matches. The epee and foil teams once again led the way, completely subduing the Tiger J.V.s, 17-10, and turning back the Princeton freshmen, 16-11.
The J.V. program at Harvard since last season has included freshmen, and Marion uses it as a feeder system for the varsity. In this context, this year's J.V. team previews the next two or three years of Harvard fencing, revealing upcoming strengths in foil and epee, but underscoring a distinct need to develop quality sabre performers. The comparative weakness of the J.V. sabre team makes the departure of first-team seniors Terry Valenzuela and Walter Morris all the more significant.
"I have got to come up with some sabre fencers for next year," Marion said earlier this season. "We look pretty good in foil and epee, as far as next year goes, but we must find some sabre men."
Thus far Marion has not found these sabre men, with the possible exception of Hobbs. The rest of the J.V. season will be of special interest to the coach, for in it lies the future of his varsity.