Bulldogs Turn in Strong Performance at Penn State

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.

Meanwhile, the powerful foil squad missed its expectations for the tournament. Nathaniel Botwinick finished 16th, Holbrook finished 26th, Shiv Kachru finished 29th and Dario Martinez finished 36th.

"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."


Full Results

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