Fencing Competes For IFA Championships

Hagamen leads m. saber team to title

You know it’s been a memorable season when you start winning titles and you have to dust off old trophies to find the last time you won.

“It’s a pretty big trophy,” said freshman saber Tim Hagamen. “It took us a quite a while to find the last time Harvard was on it, but we eventually found it...back in 1941.”

Led by Hagamen, fellow freshman David Jakus and co-captain Scott Silver, the saber team captured its first Intercollegiate Fencing Association title since 1941.

It was Harvard’s first outright IFA men’s saber championship in over a century. The Crimson shared the title 62 years ago.

Hagamen delivered a dominating 14-0 performance to capture the individual saber title, including an impressive 15-4 win in the finals over No. 2 seed Paul Friedman from Brown.

“The last bout was the only one I really prepared for differently,” Hagamen said. “At a certain level you can’t think fast enough to be successful, so you have to plan out the match in advance and just react. That’s what makes it fun. It’s what I love about fencing.”

Ranked No. 3 on the U.S. senior national team, Hagamen has anchored Harvard’s saber team all season, losing just two bouts in the process.

“I went up to Tim during the finals and told him I wanted lessons so I could beat Paul [Friedman] next time I face him,” Jakus said.

But a team effort was required for the Crimson to capture the saber title on Saturday.

Jakus went 11-1 and finished seventh, falling only to Friedman, the eventual silver medalist, in the quarterfinals.

More importantly, Jakus was a perfect 10-0 for Harvard in Pool B team competition, cruising with 50 touches for and only 16 against.

Although Silver had a tougher time than either Hagamen or Jakus in team competition, going 6-4 in Pool C, he secured a third-place finish in the pool and won a crucial late bout to snatch the title from Columbia.

With the Crimson leading by just one win and only three bouts remaining, Silver trailed Brandeis’ Gilad Goren 4-1. Facing elimination, Silver came back to take the next four points and win the bout, 5-4.

Silver’s victory effectively clinched the saber title for Harvard.

“Scott’s an unbelievable guy,” Jakus said. “It’s the best I’ve seen him fence all year. Coming back in that last match with Brandeis was great. I felt good for him.”

Hagamen echoed those sentiments almost to the word.

“Scott did incredibly well,” Hagamen said. “It’s the best I’ve ever seen him fence.”

With a pair of victories from Hagamen and Jakus, combined with an unexpected Columbia loss, Harvard went on to edge the Lions, 26-24, in the saber.

In the epee, Harvard finished a disappointing seventh with a 16-14 record, although freshman Julian Rose had an outstanding individual performance.

Rose went 10-4 in a very competitive epee division. After going 7-3 in Pool A and earning the second seed, Rose cruised through the elimination bracket to earn a rematch with Princeton’s Soren Thompson in the finals.

In an incredibly close bout, Thompson prevailed on the final touch for a 15-14 victory.

Sophomore Philip Sherrill was Harvard’s top individual performer in the foil with an 11th-place finish. The foil team placed seventh with a 14-16 record.

Harvard finished third overall with a 56-34 record behind IFA champion Columbia and runner-up Princeton. The Crimson defeated Columbia earlier this season in a monumental 14-13 victory in New York.

—Staff writer Timothy Jackson can be reached at jackson2@fas.harvard.edu.