The most dominant athletes are more than just a lean body with great skills. Instead, they act as role models and provide leadership in addition to their prowess.
In what may have been the toughest year to be a captain, saber fencer Tim Hagamen more than rose to the occasion to meet all the requirements.
Despite losing his fellow captain in the middle of the season, the senior led the men’s fencing squad to its third straight Ivy League championship and a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Tournament and earned an individual national title in men’s saber.
“Overall, in the 25 years I’ve been coaching fencing, I can honestly say Tim is probably the best overall player I’ve had the privilege of coaching as the whole package—as far as a person who makes a commitment to the game, to his team, willing to go above and beyond what is expected of him,” Crimson coach Peter Brand said. “His leadership overall has made a huge impact on the program.”
“Tim is just one of the most remarkable athletes, but more importantly, great team members,” said senior epee fencer Jasmine McGlade. “He’s worked so hard both in his individual training and as a captain. He really motivates everyone. We were all really hoping he would win.”
His individual NCAA Tournament battle is not to be overlooked. In what Brand called the toughest pool of fencers he’s seen in the last five or six years, Hagamen first had to make it through
the round-robin play—which he did handily, winning 19 of 22 bouts—and then through two of the top fencers in the country in final-four play.
In his final bout, the senior was matched up against Notre Dame fencer Patrick Ghattas, who had finished second two years running.
The matchup came down to the slimmest of margins, as Hagamen edged out a 15-14 victory in a back-and-forth battle. The individual title was just the fourth in Harvard history and the first in the saber.
“His final bout was so exciting,” McGlade said. “His pulling the win out was a testament to his strength of character and as a fencer. He’s such a role model for everyone on the team.”
In addition to his long sought-after title—he came close but never could quite reach the ultimate goal before this year’s win—Hagamen finishes his career with three All-American honors and a team national championship.
Before his national title run, the senior finished the IFA tournament with a gold medal and never failed to post a winning record in the best-of-three Ivy League bouts.
Hagamen departs knowing he has left a legacy of strong performance and domination but hopes there is more: the team spirit developed over his last four years.
“I feel like it’s one of the distinguishing characteristics of our team,” he said. “I hope it continues after I’m gone. I don’t know how much of it was as a result of me, but I hope it will be a part of my legacy.”
—Staff writer Madeleine I. Shapiro can be reached at email@example.com.
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