Men's Fencing Captures its Seventh Ivy League Title
It all came down to the wire. Tied at 13-13 in the match and 4-4 in the bout, freshman Jerry Chang was faced with overcoming his brother, Penn sophomore Jason Chang, in foil to give the Harvard men’s fencing team sole possession of the conference title at the Ivy Round-Robins this weekend at Gordon Indoor Track.
The Crimson (13-5, 5-0 Ivy) competed with five Ancient Eight foes on Saturday and Sunday, emerging undefeated and untied.
Jerry Chang jumped out to an early lead, 4-2, but his brother was able to close in and force a tie-breaking battle.
“Jerry is a freshman and his brother is a sophomore,” Crimson coach Peter Brand said. “Jerry has a bit more experience and his results were really tremendous. His brother on the other hand, was also moving well, and he had already gone through this experience before so I think things were fairly even going into the bout.”
Jerry Chang fought for the crucial touch, earning the final point to win the bout and push the match in Harvard’s favor, 14-13, enabling his team to grab its seventh Ivy crown in program history.
“He was fortunate to come out on top in the end,” Brand said. “It was quite a dramatic ending to say the least.”
For his performance in the bout, and through the entire season, Chang was one of three members of the team to earn an All-Ivy nod. The rookie was joined by fellow freshman Michael Woo and sophomore Brian Kaneshige, also foilists.
The Crimson opened the weekend with a swift takedown of Yale. Harvard fencers swept foil, 9-0, but dropped three bouts each in saber and epee.
Next up, against Columbia, the Crimson dropped two events, saber and epee to the Lions, yet posted a resounding defeat in foil, 8-1, that allowed the team to take the match, 15-12. The loss, which was dealt to Jerry Chang, was the sole contest that the foil squad, which won 17 bouts, dropped through the first day of competition.
Sophomore Alexander Ryjik was blanked by his three Columbia opponents, while junior Eric Arzoian and senior Thomas Kolasa dropped one and two bouts, respectively. In saber, Lions fencer Alen Hadzic broke a tie with junior Michael Raynis to edge the Crimson in the event, 5-4.
The second day of the event saw the Harvard squad fight to stay on top of the standings.
On Sunday, the Crimson started the day by winning all three events against Brown. The team earned seven wins in the saber and six in the foil and epee, knocking off the Bears, 19-8.
To clinch a share of the title, Harvard bested Princeton, 16-11, with a wide margin of victory in saber, 8-1, a close, 5-4, win in foil and a loss in epée, 3-6.
“Princeton is regarded as our biggest rival in fencing,” Kaneshige said. “All the wins this weekend were equally as important and equally as memorable.”
The Crimson faced the Quakers with full possession of the title on the line. Harvard dropped the saber, 7-2, with Kolasa and Ryjik picking up the sole wins in the weapon.