“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.