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The Harvard men’s fencing team competed at the 31st Annual M. Garret Penn State Open this weekend in State College, Pa. The team used the individual tournament as a preseason warm-up.
The Crimson performed especially well in the men’s epee event, having two athletes place among the top 12. Sophomore Julian Rose, who was named a Second-Team All-American last year, and junior Michael Soto placed fifth and 12th, respectively.
“I hope to do well this season,” Soto said. “Last year [when Harvard finished third at the Intercollegiate Fencing Association Championships] was great, but I knew that there was room for improvement. My goals for this year are to stay focused and be more consistent in competition.”
In the men’s saber event, senior Noah Fabricant proved to be a very promising addition to the Crimson team. Fabricant—who walked on to the fencing team—made an impressive debut, placing 12th.
“Noah’s performance was one of the most significant results of this weekend,” Harvard coach Peter Brand—who was with the women’s team in Ithaca, N.Y.—said. “Noah is new to the sport and is an exceptionally hard worker and I am excited to continue to work with him this season.”
The Crimson is looking forward to its first team meet on Dec. 6 when it hosts both Columbia and MIT. Harvard was able to outfence the Lions in a close match last year for the first time since 1978, but Columbia earned the Ivy title at the end of the season.
Tim Hagamen, a freshman last year, is taking this year off to train with the U.S. Fencing Squad as an Olympic hopeful. Hagamen’s departure leaves Harvard with a void to fill.
“We have some strong new freshman this year, but so does Columbia,” Brand said. “Our team is strong, but the match will be a tough one.”
The Harvard women’s fencing team defeated Cornell and Sacred Heart in its season-opening tournament Sunday in Ithaca, N.Y.
“We had a very strong start,” Brand said. “The upperclassmen did very well and some of the underclassmen were a little nervous.”
Three team members competed in a round robin in each of the three weapon events; epee, saber and foil. The Crimson defeated the Big Red 18-9 and the Pioneers 24-23.
“We did very well,” co-captain Eunice Yi said. “The team was especially strong in women’s foil.”
Sophomore Chloe Stinetorf led the Crimson in the foil event. In all her bouts, Stinetorf allowed only one touch from her opponents. She went undefeated in six bouts.
“I’m very pleased for the squad,” Stinetorf said. “I was a little nervous because I haven’t competed since the spring. It was exciting to finish well and the competition was a lot of fun.”
Sacred Heart and Cornell are relatively weak competitors for the Crimson. Harvard will face tougher competition in Ivy League champions Columbia in its next competition.
“This was a fresh start to get us ready for Columbia,” Brand said. “We have some weak spots that we can improve on. The third spots in the foil and saber events are filled by beginners. With more experience and hard work, these beginners will definitely improve.”
The Crimson takes on Columbia, Tufts and MIT Dec. 6 at home.
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