Bulldogs Ready to Fence

Cornelius Saunders. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Cornelius Saunders. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Seven Freshmen Join Roster

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — With the addition of seven freshmen, the Yale men's fencing team is re-energized and ready to fence in anticipation of its 2012-13 season, which kicks off with the Nov. 3-4 Penn State Garret Open. 

Next weekend's Garret Open, held in State College, Pa., will provide the team an opportunity to start the season off well by putting up their best performances. The Bulldogs will then travel to Waltham, Mass., to compete at the Dec. 2 Brandeis Invitational. At last year's Brandeis Invitational the Elis notched up a 4-1 record, beating Boston College, Brandeis, MIT, and UNC.

The team will then break until a Jan. 19 matchup at home against Sacred Heart, followed by the Jan. 27 NYU Invitational in New York a week later. A Feb. 2 bout against Vassar in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., will round out the Elis' preparation for the Feb. 9-10 Ivy League Championship.

Based on the results of the Ivy League Championship, Yale's fencers will look to compete at the NCAA Northeast Regional on Mar. 10 and advance to the Mar. 21-24 NCAA National Championship. 

"I think the upcoming season will be a learning experience, and we will try to learn as much as possible before the culmination of the season, the Ivy League Championships," said Head Coach Henry Harutunian. "We are now putting all of our efforts into improving the level of the men's and women's teams so when we get to the championship, we will perform our best, and so we can try to qualify people for NCAAs."

Led by junior captain Cornelius Saunders, who finished in fourth place in epee competition at last year's Garret Open, the Bulldogs will look to perform their best in the fall and build momentum for the spring competitions that follow.

The fall will also provide a platform for the large cohort of freshmen on the team to launch their Ivy League careers.

Joining the foil team are Jin Ishizuka, Dillon Lew and Brian Wang, who hail from New York, Piedmont, Calif., and Fremont, Calif., respectively.

The saber squad has two additions: Edward Kong from West Caldwell, N.J., and Alan Zhang, who joins the team without prior experience from Walnut, Calif.

And two freshmen will compete with the epee squad: Derek Soled from Randolph, N.J., and Donat Sule from Buffalo, N.Y. 

The freshmen will add to a talented and experienced roster, one that includes several fencers who contributed to the team's second-place finish at the U.S. Collegiate Squad Championships in 2011.

Seniors William Zhao and Nate Benzimra, who placed 12th at the NCAA National Championship last season, will lead the saber squad. The squad's other member, sophomore Hugh O'Cinneide, put up several strong performances throughout his opening season for the Bulldogs in 2011-12.

The foil squad, meanwhile, will also feature junior Jonathan Desnick and sophomore Sam Broughton, who earned second-team All-Ivy honors in foil competition at the 2012 Ivy League Championship. 

The Elis will look to their epee squad to play a key role in the team's success: it is Yale's most experienced and largest weapons squad. Saunders, senior Nicholas Wan, juniors Peter Cohen and Benjamin Mappin-Kasirer, and sophomore Jacob Rosenberg-Wohl comprise the squad. Cohen, in particular, will look to build upon past success: last year he finished in 17th at the NCAA National Championship, and took home second-team All-Ivy honors in epee competition.

Together, the Elis will look to perform their best at the Garret Open and Brandeis Invitational before they break for the winter.

Report filed by James Lu '14, Yale Sports Publicity.