Harvard's fencing team, flaunting a 6-2 record after a convincing win over MIT last Tuesday, plunges back into Ivy League competition this afternoon, taking on Cornell at the IAB.
The Crimson will be without the services of standout epee man Chris Jennings, who left yesterday morning for Los Angeles to participate in the qualifying tournament for the Under 20 National Team. Jenning's departure seems to be without the consent of Crimson coach Edo Marion, who said yesterday that he thought Jennings would not be making the trip to Los Angeles.
"When Jennings told me that he wanted to go, I told him that if he wanted to be on a college team, he must fence in all the matches," Marion said. "And since he already has enough points to qualify for the National Team, I told him that perhaps he should skip the tournament."
According to Jennings's roommate, Philip Weiss, the Crimson epee man plans to stay in Los Angeles until Thursday, which means he will miss the important Columbia match on Tuesday.
Without Jennings, Marion will probably go with John Hirschfeld, Ken Bartels, and Eugene White in epee, with Eric Read as the top reserve.
Cornell is a tough team to come up against, despite its 1-2 record in the Ivies. The Big Red lost to both Penn and Princeton by 14-13 margins. They have a strong sabre team and also have the benefit of a three-week European tour, which the team took during reading period.
While in Europe, Cornell fenced 18 matches in 21 days, giving the Big Red a definite edge in experience over the Crimson. Among the teams Cornell faced were the French National Military Team, the British National Under 20 Team, and the French National Institute of Sports Team.
Cornell is led by Julion Valaderes in foil, Ken Toring in epee and Nilo Otero in sabre.
Besides the problem of replacing Jennings, Marion will be particularly concerned with the performance of his foil squad. In recent matches the foil men have been lackluster at best, and, since Marion have counted on the foil team to carry the Crimson, the letdown has been particularly disappointing.
Marion will be closely watching freshman Phillipe Bennett, who has not lived up to his pre-season potential, and who lost two bouts against MIT. John Willinsky, another freshman, will be waiting in the wings should Bennett falter. Marion said yesterday that while he had considered his foil squad to be the strong point for the Crimson when the season started, "we are the worst team in the League right now."