Elis Say 'En Garde'

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

Men's Fencing Preps for New Season

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—After a restful offseason and weeks of practice, the members of Yale Men's Fencing prepare to kick off their 2013-2014 season.  Their first meet, the Brandeis Invitational, will take place this Dec. 8 in Waltham, Mass. This year's 16-member squad looks to emulate the success of previous seasons and continue to build a strong foundation for the Yale program.

The Bulldogs are coming off a successful season, with strong results across the board. Highlights from this past season include a strong 5-1 finish in last year's iteration of the Brandeis Invitational, as well as a 3-2 record in the NYU Invitational. The season culminated in the qualification of two team members for the NCAA Championships in San Antonio, Texas: Peter Cohen, now a senior on the epee squad, and current junior Hugh O'Cinneide, of the saber squad. The two fencers led the Yale team to 11th place overall, with Cohen and O'Cinneide finishing 17th and 11th, respectively, in individual competition. Yale finished in fifth place on the season in Ivy League play.

In their quest to improve upon last year's results, the Elis will have to do so without the strong leadership of departing seniors Nate Benzimra, Nicholas Wan, and William Zhao. Zhao earned Academic All-Ivy recognition last year, and also qualified in saber for NCAA regionals. The departing fencers were acknowledged at a team banquet at the conclusion of the 2012-2013 season. They were thanked for their strong fencing and inspiring leadership during their careers at Yale.

Yet the Bulldogs have made strides toward filling this void by welcoming three talented freshman to their ranks: Ian Richards of Chevy Chase, Md.; Reed Srere of Washington, D.C.; and Jacob Stein, who hails from San Francisco. All three enjoyed successful high school careers, and will surely bring positive energy and strong play to the Yale squad.

Richardson and Srere join sophomore Edward Kong, O'Cinneide, and sophomore Yalun Zhang on the formidable saber squad. The saber squad lost two important members in Zhao and Benzimra. O'Cinneide, however, will look to usher in the new additions to the young squad and lead them to a successful season.

Stein brings his talent to a foil squad that includes junior Sam Broughton, and sophomores Jin Ishizuka, Dillon Lew, and Brian Wang. Broughton looks to assume a leadership role this season after performing well and qualifying for NCAA regionals last year. The trio of sophomores, Ishizuka, Lew, and Wang, also qualified for the regional tournament. They represent a bright future for Yale Men's Fencing.

Seniors Peter Cohen and Benjamin Mappin-Kasirer, junior Jacob Rosenberg-Wohl, and sophomores Derek Soled and Donat Sule make up an epee squad that is led by senior captain Cornelius Saunders.  Mappin-Kasirer and Saunders both qualified for NCAA regionals last season, along with Cohen. Behind the championship-caliber fencing of Cohen and the leadership of Saunders, this experienced group is in many ways the anchor of this young Yale team.

The aforementioned fencers constitute the many reasons to be hopeful about the Elis' upcoming season.

"We have been training since September with the goal of preparing for our competitive season and it has finally arrived," said Cohen. "We are very excited and anxious to see how our practice will pay off."

Report filed by Owen Kaye-Kauderer '16, Sports Publicity