Yale’s fencing teams competed in the annual Ivy League Round Robins this weekend with the No. 11 women’s team finishing sixth and the No. 8 men’s tied for fourth. Both squads competed against multiple top-10 teams.
The Ancient Eight fencing competition was hosted by Harvard over the span of two days. The women’s team competed in six bouts and finished with a 2–4 overall record. The men’s team fought their way to a 1–4 record. Columbia’s women’s team put up a perfect 6–0 mark to win its third straight Ivy title, and Harvard’s men’s team finished undefeated to claim a postseason victory of their own.
“I’m proud of our drive this weekend,” saberist Sydney Hirsch ’23 said. “Through victory and defeat everyone was willing to give it their all, no one ever gave up. We were really supportive of each other the whole time and managed to keep up good energy. I don’t think we competed at our highest potential this weekend. We’ve definitely performed better this season, like when we beat Penn State and Notre Dame. I think maybe some of us were nervous, or just had off days — the competition was really intense.”
The women’s team failed to better its performance from last year and instead fell three places in the standings. The previous installment of the Ivy League postseason, hosted by Yale at Payne Whitney Gymnasium, saw the Elis finish tied for third. On Saturday, the Bulldogs fenced against four opponents and finished the day 1–3. Yale’s squad started its day by besting No. 8 Penn 14–13 but fell in its next three matches to No. 1 Princeton 19–8, No. 10 Cornell 15–12 and No. 7 Harvard 19–8.
In its second day of competition, the women’s team also started its day with a win against Brown 22–5 and then lost to the eventual champion Columbia 8–19. Individually, Hirsch stood out among the sabers and would finish seventh overall — a feat also achieved by epeeist Joy Ma ’22.
“I feel like personally, I definitely could have fenced better,” foilist Emme Zhou ’23 said. “But knowing that this was my first-ever Ivies, I’m glad I was able to learn and grow a lot from ups and downs throughout the two days. I think our team worked so well together. Throughout the meet, we were constantly encouraging each other and hyping each other up. I don’t think we could’ve fenced as we did without one another.”
Meanwhile, Yale’s men’s team also saw a decline in its performance from last year, when the squad finished in third place. This year, the Bulldog’s fourth-place finish was tied for last place along with No. 20 Brown and No. 9 Penn. Yale had a disappointing first day, in which it dropped all three of its matches against the Quakers 16–11, No. 6 Princeton 17–10 and the tournament-winning No. 2 Harvard 9–18.
On Sunday, the men’s side bounced back and won its first match against the Bears 16–11. The Bulldogs would conclude their round robins in a tough loss against No. 1 Columbia 8–19. Captain Isaac Shelanski ’20 posted an impressive performance over the weekend, finishing in seventh place among epeeists.
“I saw it as a great opportunity; I had a feeling that most of the other schools would be caught off guard by our team this year,” foilist Allan Ding ’23 said. “Surprisingly, I felt very little anxiety and more excitement to simply have the opportunity to fence some of the best in the country at this competition, which I’ve had my mind on for many years before even having a chance at attending.”
The Bulldogs will next prepare for the NCAA Northeast Regionals on March 8, with qualifying fencers heading to the NCAA National Championships later in the month.
Eugenio Garza Garcia | firstname.lastname@example.org