|MIT Fencers pose with team coach Jarek Koniusz after winning the New England Championships on Saturday at the Boston College Athletic Center.|
This weekend, the men's fencing team won the New England Championships, following three consecutive second place finishes to Boston College.
Ten schools competed at the championships, including rivals Brown University, Tufts University, Boston College, and University of New Hampshire. In the team event, the format matched up A, B and C fencers from each school, with the top nine fencers of each weapon advancing to the finals.
The MIT men trailed Boston College for most of the day, despite key victories against their NCAA counterparts. Going into the final three rounds, team captain Evangelos Efstathiou '00 challenged his fencers to "win 27 straight bouts, and we can go home as champions!" Facing Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Hampshire College, and Dartmouth College, the men stepped up to the challenge, winning 26 of the remaining 27 bouts to secure the men's fencing team's first New England Championship title in ten years.
In an incredible display of depth, Ben Vandiver '00 (foil), Curtis Wade III '01 (epee), and Phil Miller '01 (sabre), MIT's C strip fencers, were undefeated in the team event, advancing to the finals.
Foilists Andre Van Horn '01 and Ali Ibrahim '01, and sabre fencers Brian Bower '99 and Efstathiou also advanced to the finals. Epeeists Matt DuPlessie '99 and Michael Krypel '01, despite solid performances against top ranked epee fencers, were each one victory away from advancing.
"In all my years here, just once I wanted us to be champions," said sabre fencer and squad leader Bower, summarizing the sentiment of the upperclassmen. Bower lost only one bout throughout the day, and went undefeated in the finals to become the New England Sabre Champion. Bower has won New Englands three out of the last four years, and this was the fourth time in six years that an MIT fencer has won the sabre championship.
The foil squad had a brilliant finish, placing third among the New England squads. In the finals Van Horn took third place, Vandiver placed fourth, and Ibrahim placed sixth. In the sabre finals, Efstathiou finished third, and Miller finished sixth. Epeeist Curtis Wade III '01 finished seventh in the finals.
MIT fencers also brought home three freshmen championship titles. Richard Burstein '02 (sabre), Alan Asbeck'02 (epee) and Eric J. Cholankeril '02 (foil) all won gold medals in their respective weapons.
The men's team will travel to Cornell for the Intercollegiate Fencing Association championships on Sunday.