Courtesy of Yale Athletics

Over the weekend, the Yale men’s (4–10–0, 0–4 Ivy) and women’s fencing (12–5–0, 3–3) squads competed in the first Ivy League Round Robin competition in two years and fenced every Ancient Eight team that fielded a squad. 

Brown University hosted the Ivy League Round Robin over the weekend. Both squads competed each day against the other Ivy squads present — Brown and Cornell lack a men’s fencing team and Dartmouth does not have a fencing program. The women’s squad tied for fourth with Penn, while the men’s squad finished fifth. The men’s fencing squad last won the Ivy League title in 1996, when they tied with Columbia for first, while the women’s team won its most recent title six years later in 2002.

“Ivy championships is the toughest competition for fencing at the NCAA level,” interim head coach Marat Israelian said. “The girls deserve the credit for going even and beating tough schools like UPenn, Brown and Cornell and the guys deserve the credit for fighting with every school even tough sometimes our lineups didn’t match. It’s a [transitional] period and we will build from this. Overall I’m proud with how the team performed.”

The men’s team began its competition on Saturday by facing Harvard, where they lost 20–7. Overall, Allan Ding ’24 placed ninth in the men’s foil competition with 25 touches scored in ten bouts. Meanwhile, Safi Haider ’22 placed second in men’s épée with a 7–3 record during the competition and scored 41 touches. Haider was followed by fellow épéeist Ted Vinnitchouk ’24 who finished sixth in the category with 43 touches scored. 

In its final match and only bout occurring on Sunday, the Elis finished 16–11 and recorded a 0–4 weekend. 

“I am incredibly proud of how our men’s team fenced this weekend,” men’s captain Nicolas del Vecchio ’22 said. In addition to highlighting Haider’s record performance, del Vecchio noted the “hard fought victories” of Elijah Hong ’23 and Victor Osoliniec ’24. 

The women likewise began their competition with a 18–9 defeat at the hands of Harvard, but finished with a 15–12 victory over Penn on Sunday. Sydney Hirsch ’24 placed eighth in the saber with a 10–8 record while Joy Ma’s ’22 9–8 record earned her fifth in épée. In foil, Emme Zhou ’23 and Helen Tan ’25 placed fourth and ninth, respectively. The Bulldogs finished with a 3–3 record to tie with their last opponent, the Quakers.

Israelian noted that the women stayed after completing their competition to support the men’s squad, who arrived early to the venue to support their fellow Bulldogs. Sophia Zhuang ’23 echoed Israelian’s sentiment about the supportive rapport between the men’s and women’s team.

“I’m so proud of every single member of our team, because legitimately everyone was crucial in our success,” Zhuang said. “So many of us lost our voices, but we brought the fire and really showed up. Of course, our coaches, alumni, parents, friends, and the men’s team are also to thank for our success, as they really pushed us and kept us sane this weekend. Outside of the collegiate circuit, this sport is so individual, but this weekend, we were really there for each other and brought so much spirit and energy.”

The squads will next travel to Poughkeepsie, New York during the weekend of March 12 for the NCAA Northeast Regionals.

Hamera Shabbir covers golf and fencing for the Sports desk and the School of the Environment for the Science and Technology desk. Originally from California's Central Valley, she is a sophomore in Branford College majoring in Environmental Studies.