On Saturday, Yale’s fencing teams competed in their first and only home meet of the season, sweeping their opponents to finish a combined 5–0.
Following weeks of tough competitions and traveling, the Bulldogs got a breather at home facing relatively easier opponents in Vassar and Sacred Heart. The women’s team also fenced against Long Island University, a last-minute addition to the tournament. Following the bouts, the annual Senior Day ceremony was held honoring the achievements of senior Eli fencers both on and off the piste.
“It’s always fun to fence in front of your friends and family,” captain Isaac Shelanski ’20 said. “… and while I’m sad that it was my last home meet, I’m looking forward to being the loudest and most obnoxious fan in the stands next year. I feel like this competition provided a much-needed reset for our team after a grueling start to the semester, and I am feeling confident heading into Ivy League Championships this weekend.”
Before the teams set their sights on the important tournament this weekend at Harvard, the squads stopped to celebrate their respective seniors. The honorees on Saturday were Shelanski, Malcolm Miller ’20, Aiden Ahn ’20, Michelle Nam ’20, Jenny Zhao ’20, Samantha Wood ’20 and women’s captain Anna Zhou ’20.
Zhou is the sister of rookie sensation and fellow foilist Emme Zhou ’23. Together the two sisters helped lead their weapon squad to a 28–1 overall record against all three schools they faced.
“During my sister’s senior day, it was definitely a wave of emotions,” Emme Zhou said. “Even though I’ve only been on the team for a semester so far, I can tell how closely knit our team is and how emotionally connected everyone is to the seniors on our team. What really got to me and made me emotional was when I saw Anna and Isaac, the men’s team captain, hugging and taking a photo together. They’ve worked together so hard to make this team who we are today and I can tell they put their heart into this team. I know that the team will never be the same without our seniors.”
The women’s team started off its day defeating Long Island 25–2. The Bulldogs then added another dominant victory as they faced off against their second opponent Sacred Heart, whom they defeated 23–4. Yale’s team would finish the trio of matches by beating Vassar 26–1. These three victories extend the squad’s win streak to eight straight as the Bulldogs continue the success they found two weeks ago at the Philadelphia Invitational.
The men’s team had just as strong a day. The Bulldogs vanquished both of their opponents, the Vassar Brewers and the Sacred Heart Pioneers, by a margin of 20–7. In the second match against Sacred Heart, the saber squad swept all of its matches as sophomores Kevin Callahan ’22, Elijah Hong ’22 and Andrew Zhang ’22 went undefeated.
“In my opinion, this competition should turn each team’s attention towards bolstering the depth of each squad,” Allan Ding ’23 said. “While we were able to secure the victory relatively quickly, some of our substitutes fenced our opponents with a closer margin than we would like given the strength of the opposing team.”
This weekend in Cambridge, all eight Ivy League teams will fence each other in a round-robin fashion to determine the champion of the Ancient Eight. At the conclusion of the event, the teams and individuals are ranked based on overall performance with all bouts counting toward NCAA regional tournament qualifications.
Last weekend’s bouts were hosted in the Fencing Salon on the seventh floor of Payne Whitney Gymnasium.
Eugenio Garza Garcia | firstname.lastname@example.org