Only weeks removed from leading Harvard to its first NCAA title with a gold-medal effort, sophomore fencer Benjamin Ungar earned another podium finish yesterday at the World Junior Fencing Championship in Taebacek City, South Korea, picking up a bronze medal in men’s epee.
Competing in a field featuring the top 110 junior fencers in the world, Ungar reached the semifinals but lost 15-9 to Chinese fencer Feng Weng.
Weng went on to lose to eventual champion Steffen Launer of Germany. Ungar has defeated Launer in the past, beating the German in his home country at an earlier World Cup event.
With Ungar’s win and teammate Emily Cross’ top finish in women’s foil, the United States is dominating the tournament, leading all nations with 10 total medals—including five gold medals.
Italy is in second with seven total medals.
Despite being only a sophomore, Ungar has become a force to reckon with in the men’s epee event.
At the NCAA tournament, Ungar went 18-5 in the round robin to move on the semifinals.
He wrecked his opponent, winning 15-4 to advance to the gold-medal match against Denis Tolkachev of Ohio State.
The contest went down to the wire, but Ungar eventually pulled out a 15-14 win.
The victory made the sophomore only the third-ever Harvard men’s fencer to capture the NCAA title—and the first in 12 years.
“I’ve known Benji since we were 10 years old, and I think he’s fenced this year better than I’ve ever seen him fence before,” said men’s co-captain David Jakus at the time.
After spending his spring break honing his fencing skills, Ungar carried his momentum into the World Junior Fencing Championship.
There, he proved himself time and time again, competing well at the highest level.
And after establishing himself as one of the premier fencers in the world, it seems as if Ungar has nowhere to go but up.
To put it simply, the rest of the Ivy League better be prepared to face some stiff competition for the next two years.
Ungar’s on top of the world, and he isn’t going anywhere soon.