In its quest to become the 2008 Ivy Champions, the Harvard fencing team saw a familiar face crush its chances. As both the Columbia men and women took their spots atop the Ancient Eight for the second year in a row, the Crimson men failed to join them as they had last year, and the women failed to reclaim their past glory.
After going 2-1 in the first weekend of the Ivy Championships, the men continued at the same pace to finish third overall, falling to the Lions, 18-9, but defeating Brown, 21-6. The women also finished third, losing, 17-10 to Columbia and a nail-biter, 14-13, to the Bears, despite defeating Cornell, 17-10.
The men were simply overmatched in the meet against the Lions, with the lone close call coming in a 5-4 foil defeat. Junior co-captain Kai Itameri-Kinter notched one of the most impressive wins of the day, defeating Columbia sophomore and foilist Kurt Getz, one of the best in the country. Itameri-Kinter was honored for his performance with first team All-Ivy accolades. The men’s squad had an additional All-Ivy selection in the form of senior epee fencer Teddy Sherrill, whose 8-1 first-weekend performance had left him atop the rankings.
The sabre saw a bright spot in senior Steve Ahn who went 2-1 against Columbia in losing his only bout of the day, despite the sabre squad falling, 6-3.
“Clearly we’re always trying to win, to do our best, and we didn’t quite do what we thought we might have been able to today,” Itameri-Kinter said. “We had some solid bouts from a couple of guys. We all had small victories in our individual matchups, we just couldn’t put it all together against Columbia to get that win.”
The epee did not fair any better than the other two weapons, losing 7-2.
“Against Columbia our [epee] guys just couldn’t really handle it,” Harvard coach Peter Brand said. “They were aggressive, pressuring us extensively, we were not prepared for that. Tactically our guys are just as good as they are, they just weren’t ready for that this time around.”
Last weekend it was a dominant performance from the epeeists, but this weekend it was the sabre who notched perfection in the win over Brown, with Ahn and juniors Craig Gorin and co-captain Scott DiGiulio all going 3-0 in their bouts. Harvard did not lose any weapon, with the only close matchup coming in a 5-4 win in epee.
After a disappointing first Ivy weekend from the women’s foil squad, the sophomore trio of Misha Goldfeder, Arielle Pensler, and Anna Podolsky turned things around to post an impressive day. The foilists dropped just two bouts outside of a tough 6-3 loss to the Lions, posting 8-1 victories over the Bears and the Big Red.
The sabre fencers joined in on the Cornell pounding, 6-3, as freshman Alexandra Sneider went a perfect 3-0 in her bouts. The squad also posted the closest matchup against Columbia, falling, 5-4, before losing 6-3 to Brown. Senior Alexa Weingarden continued her quest for Ivy League greatness, beating Columbia phenom and Olympic competitor Emily Jacobson.
As has been consistently true throughout the season, the epee marked the weak point for the Crimson, falling, 6-3 to the Big Red and Lions, and 7-2 to the Bears. Junior co-captain Maria Larsson was the sole bright spot on the day, dropping just two bouts and going perfect against Cornell.
“We pretty much did what I anticipated, although I was a little disappointed that the women lost to Brown,” Brand said. “Of course again the bottom line here was if you look at the results, it’s our epee squad. The whole day they couldn’t pull it off as they did a little earlier in the season. Eventually we pretty much collapsed in that area, but I wasn’t surprised.”
Weingarden, Goldfeder, and Larsson were honored with All-Ivy selections
—Staff writer Madeleine I. Shapiro can be reached at email@example.com