It was a busy week both on and off the field for Harvard athletes, including those not currently in season. The Back Page takes a closer look.
Harvard Fencers at Junior World Championships
While Harvard fencers compete for the Crimson during the season, much of their competition comes on the international circuit. When not in season, the majority of the team goes abroad to fence against some of the world’s best, and the level of fencing is generally understood to be higher than that of the NCAA.
Earlier this month, Harvard sophomore fencers Michael Woo, Aliya Itzkowitz, and Nina Van Loon travelled to Plovdiv, Bulgaria to compete in the 10-day Junior World Championships. The foilist Woo and épeéist Van Loon represented the United States and helped their teams to silver team medals, while Itzkowitz fenced for Great Britain.
Woo, who earned an All-American honorable mention and first-team Ivy League honors in the winter season, finished 19th after going 6-0 in pool play and winning his second round bout against Russia’s Bogdan Dascalu, 15-2.
After compiling a 4-2 pool record and the 35th seed, Van Loon would eventually fall to 30th-ranked Lizaveta Khlystunova of Bulgaria, 15-9, to finish her tournament 41st overall.
Fencing sabré, Itzkowitz finished 34th after also earning four bout victories and a plus-10 indicator. She would fall to Italy’s Sofia Ciaraglia in the round of 64.
Men’s Volleyball’s Bendell Garners Accolade
The Harvard men’s volleyball squad surpassed many preseason expectations by finishing a program best 11-3 in EIVA play this past season. Much of its success has stemmed from the contributions of freshmen Nick Bendell and Casey White. And earlier this week, Bendell was recognized for his efforts when he was named to the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshman All-American Team.
Playing the setter position, Bendell accounted for 733 of the Crimson’s 960 assists for the season and sits at seventh among the Crimson’s all-time assists leaders after just one season.
And he’s not yet finished, as the 6’2” star has another chance to add to his total when second-seeded Harvard takes on third-seeded University Park in the EIVA Tournament next Thursday.
Baseball’s Bald Benefit
After its 13-3 win over Brown last Sunday afternoon, the Crimson men got out the razors and left us all staring at a lot of forehead. There’s a saying in baseball that you don’t ever cut hair of any kind on game day, and especially not during a winning streak. Hopefully, the fact that the Harvard baseball squad members gave up their locks for cancer will appease the baseball gods.
Since the shave, which raised over $11,500 for the VS. Cancer Foundation, the Crimson has gone 1-1, splitting a Wednesday doubleheader at Princeton.