Bulldogs Turn in Strong Performance at Penn State
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – On Saturday and Sunday, the Yale men's fencing team participated in the Penn State Open, in State College, Pa. The individual tournament was the Bulldogs' first of the year, and gave them a chance to experience live competition, before the dual-meet season begins. The tournament resulted in plenty of success for the Elis, as the team had four fencers finish in the top 16 of their weapon category.
Though the Penn State Open is not a team competition and does not count towards Yale's overall record, the Bulldogs enjoyed some great individual performances. In particular, the performances of the Yale epeeists were very encouraging. The squad has undergone plenty of improvement this year and is comprised of several freshmen. Three of them—Peter Cohen, Benjamin Mappin-Kasirer, and Cornelius Saunders—turned in top performances this weekend. Mappin-Kasirer finished 10th, Cohen finished 12th and Saunders finished 22nd.
"Our freshman epeeists' performance was a highlight of the day," said captain Jonathan Holbrook. "Freshmen Ben Mappin-Kasirer and Peter Cohen entered the final round of 16 ranked 3rd and 11th in an extremely strong field, each narrowly losing their bout to advance to the round of 8. Cornelius Saunders also performed strongly, advancing to the 3rd round of pools."
The Yale saber squad also put in some great performances. Squad captain Adam Fields led the way with a top-16 finish, reflecting his hard work in the gym and on the strip at practice. Sophomore Will Zhao had a breakout day, qualifying for the final round of pools and defeating 4th-place finisher Michael Mills in an early round. Fields finished 14th, Zhao finished 22nd, and Colin mills finished right behind him at 23rd.
"Our foil squad definitely had a tough day," said Holbrook. "Despite squad captain Nat Botwinick's strong top-16 performance, all three starters finished lower this year than last, when Botwinick paced the squad with a 4th-place finish. This reflects a stronger field this year--many top foilists did not participate last year."
However, the tournament was certainly a great opportunity for the Bulldogs to see where they stand at this point in the year and to get some live practice in before the season begins in earnest.
"Today was a good tune-up for the season and assessment of where we stand as a team against many of the best fencers in the country," said Holbrook. "As we enter the final few weeks of training before our regular competition season begins at Brandeis, we have come away from this tournament with concrete ideas for how to continue improving."
Saber - 44 competitors
Adam Fields - 14th
William Zhao - 22nd
Colin Mills - 23rd
Nathaniel Benzimra - 34th
Foil - 53 competitors
Nathaniel Botwinick - 16th
Jonathan Holbrook - 26th
Shiv Kachru - 29th
Dario Martinez - 36th
Epee - 72 competitors
Benjamin Mappin-Kasirer - 10th
Peter Cohen - 12th
Cornelius Saunders - 22nd
Nicholas Wan 47th
Pearson Miller - 52nd
Alexander Cohen - 53rd
Bob Qu - 66th
Report by Arsi Sefaj '11, Yale Sports Publicity