Coming off a tough weekend at the Ivy League Championships that saw neither squad come back to Cambridge with an Ancient Eight title, the Harvard men’s and women’s fencing teams both capped off their regular seasons by capturing their tenth-consecutive respective Beanpot titles. Since the Beanpot’s inception in 2008, the Crimson men and women have both claimed the sole share of the crown every year.
“Some of us are still recovering from last weekend, [and] a lot of us still haven’t even regained our voices,” women’s co-captain and foil fencer Liana Yamin said. “But we still came out and fought hard. One of our fencers, [freshman] Duncan [Rheingans-Yoo], even had to switch weapons, and he still went 8-1.”
Rheingans-Yoo switched from foil to epee for Wednesday’s bouts due to the illness that kept sophomore Jonathan Gill, one of Harvard’s regular epee fencers, sidelined for the tournament.
“Duncan had fenced a little bit of epee in his free time and because we had extra foil [fencers], we decided to have him fence epee,” junior co-captain and saber fencer Eric Zhao said.
Even though Harvard had won the Beanpot ten years running, the teams did not let that distract or pressure them and treated the event as business as usual.
“Everyone came into this tournament with the mindset of ‘Just gotta go as hard as we can,’” Zhao said. “And we knew if we did, just like the [previous] years, we would come away with the title.”
The Crimson dominated Brandeis, MIT and Boston College on Wednesday, winning each of its matches by more than 13 bouts.
In its first match of the day against Brandeis, the Crimson cleaned up, 20-7. The team picked up six points in epee, dominated 8-1 in foil, and went 7-2 in saber.
Sophomore Eli Dershwitz has led Harvard with his saber all year, including a 14-1 performance at Ivy League Championships, and he continued to do so at the Beanpot. Dershwitz went into this tournament with a 28-5 record and a plus-76 touch differential for this year.
The Crimson carried that momentum over to their next match against their rivals down the road, the Engineers. Harvard toppled their Massachusetts Avenue opposition by a 22-5 mark, going 6-3 in epee, a perfect 9-0 in foil, an impressive feat considering the group was without their leading foil fencer, Duncan Rheingans-Yoo, and 7-2 in saber.
Rheingans-Yoo, rather than competing with his usual weapon, foil, picked up the epee for this tournament to fill in for Gill and impressed with a 8-1 record for his day.
To finish off the evening, Harvard topped the Eagles, winning by a score of 22-5. The team finished 7-2 in epee, another 9-0 in foil, and 6-3 in saber.
“After what happened at the Ivies it was a good way for us to bounce back…[and] to prove we still had it…and that we’re still a very capable team,” Zhao said.