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Bulldogs Finish Fencing at Penn State Open

Bulldogs Finish Fencing at Penn State Open

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - On Saturday and Sunday, the Yale men's fencing team took part in its first competitive tournament of the year, the Penn State Open, in State College, Pa. In the individual tournament, the Bulldogs performed well, with four of their six foilists finishing in the top 16. Nathaniel Botwinick finished fourth in foil, Colin Mills finished seventh in saber, and the team as a whole defeated Harvard fencers over ten times over the course of the tournament. Taylor Gregorie-Wright fenced very well and made it into the top 16 before losing to two-time NCAA champion Andras Horanyi.

“The foil team, lead by Nat’s fourth place finish, had a great performance today," said captain Andrew Holbrook. "We were all glad to see that we’ll be able to count on them this coming season. The saber team had a solid result with Colin’s top eight finish and Nate and Adam both making it to the final round of pools. There were some disappointments on the day, but as our first tournament of the season, it’s a great time for us to take stock and reassess aspects of our fencing and training programs. We’re all looking forward to making the most of our time before the Brandeis Invitational.”

To put the Bulldogs' results in perspective, the only team to have more than four foilists in the top 16 finishers at the tournament was perennial fencing powerhouse, Notre Dame. Botwinick reflected on his individual performance and that of the foil squad:

"I’m very happy with the foil squad’s result today," he said. "We proved that we’re among the best in the nation. It was great to finally be able to compete again, I tore two ligaments and cracked several bones in my foot over the summer getting ready for National Championships, and this was my first competition after not being able to properly train over the summer, so I’m not too upset with my result.”

Sophomore Adam Fields of the saber squad commented on the performances of the freshman saberists, for whom this was the first competition at Yale.

"Although this was the first competition fencing at Yale for three of our saber fencers, I was very impressed by their fencing," he said. "On the fencing strip, we were able to finish our attacks and get our momentum going early in each bout. Off the fencing strip, cheering for one another and giving each other advice for our next bouts was crucial for advancing in each stage of the tournament. With our strong finishes today and our hard work in the next few weeks, I am confident that our saber squad will be ready to help carry the fencing team in our first team competition coming up at Brandeis in December.”

Full Results:

Saber (42 competitors):
7th Colin Mills
18th Adam Fields
20th Nate Benzimra
29th Will Zhao

Epee (58 competitors)
45th Alex Cohen
52nd Nick Wan
53rd Bob Qu
53rd Adrian Godoy (tie)
56th Tom Bell

Foil (50 competitors)
4th Nat Botwinick
12th John Gurrieri
14th Taylor Gregorie-Wright
15th Jonathan Holbrook
19th Shiv Kachru
24th Andrew Holbrook

The Yale men's fencing team will continue its season on December 5, with the Brandeis Invitational in Waltham, Mass.


Report by Arsi Sefaj '11, Yale Sports Publicity