March 1, 2009
WALTHAM, Mass. - On Saturday, the men's fencing team came in fifth overall in the Three-Weapon Category of the Intercollegiate Fencing Association Championship held at Brandeis. In the Six-Weapon Category, the Yale men's and women's combined finish was fifth as well. Meanwhile, the men's foil team repeated last year's victory of the Little Iron Man trophy and captain Michael Pearce came in third in the men's epee individual competition.
"I'm really happy to repeat winning the Little Iron Man!" exclaimed team manager Andrew Holbrook. "The team really came together to support each other."
The Little Iron Man trophy, awarded to the top men's foil team at the IFA Championship, is the most prestigious award of the competition, as well as the oldest trophy in collegiate sports. In addition to last year's winning squad of Nathaniel Botwinick, John Gurrieri and Holbrook, this year's team also included freshman Shiv Kachru. Kachru's contributions were crucial to the team win, especially because Holbrook's action was limited by a sprained right finger, suffered during competition. However, the most impressive individual performance from the foil squad came from Botwinick, who went undefeated in pool play. This is the second straight year that Botwinick has finished with a perfect record in pool play, contributing greatly to the Bulldogs' win of the Little Iron Man trophy.
Pearce finished fourth in pool play on the "A strip" for epee before taking the bronze in the individual direct elimination portion of the competition. On the way to this result, Pearce had a thrilling come-back win against Princeton's Cooper Gegan. In a tough bout where the difference in score was never more than two touches, Pearce benefited from support from his teammates who were loudly cheering him on. The San Francisco, Calif., native took fourth at the 2008 IFA Championships, second in 2007, and sixth in 2006.
Another impressive performance came from freshman Adam Fields, who won his pool in saber before finishing 14th in individual direct elimination competition. Fields put in a great effort before losing to the eventual champion in the saber competition.
For senior Matthew Lee, this was his final collegiate tournament.
"Across the team we had great results from freshmen through seniors," said Pearce. "This was a great tune-up for next weekend as we proved how competitive our team is with the best schools in the league and region. We moved up one place in the overall team standings from last year, which shows the great improvements we've made. I know everyone is excited to do well at next week's NCAA Regional Championship."
The team will now be training for the NCAA Regional Championship, which will take place next weekend, in Cambridge, Mass.
Report Filed by Arsi Sefaj '11, Yale Sports Publicity