In the wake of last weekend’s NCAA Northeastern Regionals, the Harvard fencing teams will send 10 fencers to the 2018 NCAA Championships at Penn State on March 21st.
At nationals, epee will be represented entirely by freshmen with Charlie Horowitz on the men’s front while Cindy Gao and Saanchi Kukadia compete for the women. Foil features a greater diversity of class with freshman Geoffrey Tourette, sophomore George Haglund and women’s co-captain MacKenzie Lawrence all fencing in crimson. In sabre, four fencers in the form of sophomores Erwin Cai and Marta Lasota as well as juniors Gabrielle Tartakovsky and men’s co-captain Eli Dershwitz will have their time to fight in the national spotlight.
The national qualifiers list comes one day after Harvard competed in its annual regional bout. The Crimson sent 19 fencers the NCAA Northwestern Regionals. From there, it was all freshmen with Tourette winning gold for the men’s foil and Kukadia ascending the podium in women’s epee. Overall, of the 19 fencers 10 finished in the top 10 spots within their respective divisions.
A squad of ten fencers represented the No. 2 Harvard men’s team at the NCAA Regional tournament hosted by Brandeis Sunday. Of those, six finished in the top 10 of their respective divisions.
Tourette headlined for the team, bringing home the gold in the foil division. The freshman left Waltham, Mass., flaunting a 20-3 record and a plus-66 point differential. A great first round paved the way for the rookie’s success later in the tournament. In round one, Tourette racked up a perfect 6-0 record and accumulated a plus-24 touch differential to supplement the feat. Round two featured two losses but a near perfect performance in pool play propelled Tourette to the top of his division. Teammate Haglund provided his one loss of the third round.
Haglund did well himself, breaking the top ten in the division with an eighth place finish. The sophomore finished with an overall 12-12 record. Classmates Duncan Rheingans-Yoo and Matt Branman rounded out the foil division with 13th and 14th place, respectively.
All three fencers in the sabre division broke the top 10, with Dershwitz leading the squad. The junior co-captain racked up a perfect 12-0 record through the first two rounds of competition before dropping four of 11 in the final round. With his 19-4 record, Dershwitz took fourth place. Both Cai and Guy mirrored each other in the first two rounds, both achieving records of 5-1 in round one and 4-2 in the second. In the final set of pool play, Cai went 5-6, claiming seventh, while Guy lost two more and placed 10th.
Horowitz rounded things out for the team in epee, placing sixth. After two rounds of 4-2 finishes, the rookie went 5-6 in his final round of bouts. Freshman Adrien Thein-Sandler also placed 20th in the division while junior Albert Chien finished 29th.
In the same place, at the same time, the No. 6 Harvard women’s fencing team sent nine of its fencers to the NCAA Northeast Regionals. The team returned to Cambridge with four top 10 finishes and a gold medal in tow.
Kukadia managed the Crimson squad bringing home the hardware for the women’s team. Following a bye in the inaugural round of fencing, the freshman managed 4-2 records in rounds two and three. In her final series of bouts, the rookie finished an impressive 9-2, locking in a 17-6 overall record and plus-36 touch differential.
Classmate Gao didn’t finish far behind, earning the sixth place spot in the division. Also with a bye in round one, the freshman posted a near perfect round two, 5-1, before dropping two in round three. In her final round, Gao dropped four of 11 to claim her spot at number six. Juniors Shawn Wallace and co-captain Sharon Ra also competed in the division earning 11th and 15th, respectively.
Both entrants in the sabre division of competition found their way to the top of the field. Placing fourth, Tartakovsky fielded 4-2 records and plus-11 touch differentials in both rounds two and three. In her last round of pool play, the junior dropped four of eleven. Teammate Lasota finished one step behind—in fifth. The sophomore started out perfect, hitting 6-0 before dropping three in the subsequent round to finish with a 16-7 overall record.
In the foil division, Lawrence led the group placing 11th as teammates sophomore Natalie Yang and junior Liana Henderson-Semel placed 16th and 19th, respectively.
—Staff writer Cade Palmer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.