Yale fencers felled at Ivy South

Four Yale fencers solidified their spots on the All-Ivy League teams at the Ivy South Fencing Competition on Sunday. But on the team level, both the men and women went winless, falling to Princeton and Columbia.

Michael Pearce ’09, John Gurrieri ’10 and Rebecca Moss ’10 all made First Team, while Lidia Gocheva ’10 was named to the Second Team.

Nathaniel Botwinick ’11 competes during the Ivy North Competition on Feb. 3 at Payne Whitney Gym.
Kate Hawkins
Nathaniel Botwinick ’11 competes during the Ivy North Competition on Feb. 3 at Payne Whitney Gym.

Both the men and women lost close matches to Princeton, 15-12, while Columbia proved too much for the Elis, winning 22-5 in the men’s match and 26-1 in the women’s. Both of Columbia’s teams have finished 6-0 over the past two weekend’s Ivy matchups, winning the Ivy League title.

The men were once again fueled by their strong foil squad, comprising Gurrieri, Nathaniel Botwinick ’11 and Andrew Holbrook ’10. The foilers recorded Yale’s lone squad victory of the day’s 15-12 loss against Princeton, winning 7-2, with Botwinick winning all three of his bouts. In the Elis’ loss to Columbia, Botwinick provided the highlight in a dominating 5-1 victory against Kurt Getz, last year’s bronze medalist at the NCAA championships.

Gurrieri, who finished the day at 3-3, performed well enough to secure a second-place finish in the total Ivy League foil standings, behind Columbia’s Kurt Getz, who defeated Gurrieri in a close bout, 5-4, on Sunday. Gurrieri — whose record placed him on the All-Ivy First Team, which is composed of the top three finishers in each weapon class — attributed much of this year’s success to his foil squad teammates.

“I was surprised at this unexpected second-place finish,” Gurrieri said. “But our whole foil squad team has been working very hard this year, challenging each other every day in practice. I’m definitely proud of such a solid result.”

Despite Botwinick’s impressive 5-1 performance on Sunday, he missed out on All-Ivy First Team, falling one loss short. Pearce, the other All-Ivy selection on the men’s team, won two of his three bouts on the day, leaving him with a total record of 10-2 during both legs of the Ivy League Competition. This mark placed him second in the total epee standings, behind Columbia’s Max Czapanskiy.

Moss also claimed second place overall in the epee division, giving her First Team All-Ivy honors as well. After going 1-2 on the day, she ended with a 12-3 total record, behind Columbia’s Maryna Urbanowicz.

The women’s sabre squad led the Elis in the match against Princeton, winning 5-4, with Katherine Arden ’10 and Erin Frey ’08 claiming two bouts each. The epee squad lost a close 5-4 match, with Abigail Fraeman ’09 winning two bouts. The sabre squad lost 6-3, despite Gocheva’s winning all three of her bouts, losing only five points in the process. She finished the day with a record of 4-2, 12-6 overall in the competition, placing her on the All-Ivy Second Team.

Gocheva also won the team’s only bout in a tough match against Columbia. But she cited the saberists’ gutsy performance against a formidable Columbia squad.

“The saberists fenced great against a Columbia squad which included two Olympians,” Gocheva said. “We have a great saber squad, and they really put up a great fight.”

Both teams travel to New York next for the IFA Championships on Feb. 24. After placing third last year, the stand-out men’s foil squad of Gurrieri, Botwinick and Holbrook is looking for another strong performance.

“Before the beginning of the season, Andrew and John told me about the Iron Man Championship, a massive trophy that is actually the oldest in collegiate sports,” Botwinick said. “I know how much they want it, and we all want to prove that we are one of the best foil squads. Overall, we’re pretty confident heading into the IFAs.”

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