NEW YORK, NY - Coach Michael Aufrichtig has finalized the 12 fencers that will represent Columbia at NCAA Championships next weekend in Indianapolis.
Columbia was one of two schools (Notre Dame) to qualify the maximum of twelve fencers for the Championships. Harvard, Ohio State, Penn and Princeton qualified eleven.
Columbia's representatives include five fencers from last year's championship squad, three fencers who have fenced in two straight national championships, one fencer that will be fencing in her fourth straight, six first-timers, three seniors and one freshman.
This group will look to lead Columbia to its third straight national title.
Men's NCAA Championship Representatives
Sam Moelis FR. (35-15)
Moelis is the sole freshman on the Columbia championship roster, but he has not fenced like a rookie all season. Moelis is fresh off a gold medal finish at Northeast Regionals, going 20-2 and 9-1 the final pool of 12. He has also already fenced in a pressure-filled championship environment this season.
At Ivy League Championships, with the score between Columbia and Yale tied at 13 each, and the hopes of an Ivy League title hanging in the balance, Moelis won the deciding bout, 4-3, over Yale's Aiden Ahn. The Lions went on to win a share of the Ivy League title.
COLUMBIA DOES IT AGAIN! Lions take down Yale Bulldogs 14-13.— Columbia Fencing (@columbiafencing) February 12, 2017
FINAL TOUCH: pic.twitter.com/Gu1LpAKfTV
Nolen Scruggs SO. (39-24)
Scruggs will be fencing in his first NCAA championship this weekend. The sophomore got a first-team All-Ivy nod at Ivy League championships in February, going 10-4 on the weekend. At NCAA Northeast Regionals, Scruggs finished 13th. Last year, Scruggs also fenced at the Regionals and finished in sixth place as a freshman.
Porter Hesslegrave JR. (44-27)
Hesslegrave will be fencing in his second straight NCAA championship. The junior is fresh off a 9th place finish at Northeast Regionals. He was a big part of Columbia's Ivy League Championship this season, winning the fourteenth Columbia bout against Princeton's Wesley Johnson that clinched the Lions share of the Ivy League title.
Hesslegrave received honorable mention All-American honors last season after placing 10th at the NCAA Championships.
Gabe Canaux JR. (26-20)
Canaux is another first timer on the Lions championship roster. The junior got a late start to the season, fencing for the first time at the Penn State Invitational on January 15th. He finished 6th at his first Northeast Regionals this season, going 13-10 on the day.
Canaux also had a shining moment at Ivy League Championships. After Columbia climbed back from an 11-3 deficit to Harvard to tie the score at 13 all in the second day of the championships, Canaux won the decisive bout over the Crimson's Albert Chien to seal the Columbia victory.
DOWN BUT NEVER OUT! Columbia men rally from down 11-3 to top Harvard, 14-13! FINAL TOUCH by Gabe Canaux: pic.twitter.com/qop6p206zF— Columbia Fencing (@columbiafencing) February 12, 2017
Michael Costin SR. (40-26)
Costin will fence in his first and final NCAA championships this weekend. The senior qualified for the championships last season, but was behind teammates Calvin Liang and Geoffrey Loss in the standings.
The California native had a stellar outing at NCAA Northeast Regionals, finishing one touch scored behind Olympian Eli Dershwitz in the finals to earn silver. As one of the three seniors on the championship roster, Costin is looking to close out his Columbia career with a bang.
Calvin Liang SO. (14-7)
Liang was the only freshman to fence on last year's championship squad, and he is back to go for two straight this year. The sophomore has competed all over the world this season. Most recently, he finished in fifth place in individual men's sabre and helped Team USA win silver at the Junior Pan American Championships in Cuba.
Liang finished 10th in men's sabre at the NCAA Northeast Regionals this year, and 11th at the NCAA Championships last season.
Margaret Lu SR. (46-8)
After taking last year's NCAA season off to prepare for the Olympic trials, Lu returned to Columbia for her senior campaign and was on fire. She started the season with 18 straight victories.
She was the individual Ivy League foil champion with a record of 13-2 at Ivy League championships, and followed that up with a first place finish at NCAA Northeast Regionals, with a 10-1 performance in the final pool.
In her first NCAA Championship appearance in 2015, Lu finished as the runner-up in the Individual women's foil championship to get a first-team All-American nod.
Iman Blow SO. (34-12)
This will be Iman Blow's first NCAA Championship appearance. The sophomore finished right behind Lu at Northeast Regionals with a 9-2 record in the final pool, good for silver. That came after a bronze medal performance at last year's NCAA regionals.
Blow started off the season with a great performance at the Penn Elite Invitational, going 14-4 at the one day tournament. She was part of a women's foil squad that went 29-4 this season and paced the women's team to a 31-2 overall record.
Katie Angen JR. (42-18)
Angen is one of three Columbia fencers that will fence in her third straight NCAA Championships, and look to help the Lions three-peat. Angen finished 4th at NCAA Northeast regionals, with a 7-3 record in the final pool of 12. She earned first team All-Ivy for the first time this year, going 11-4 at the Ivy League Championships.
In her previous NCAA Championship appearances, the junior captain placed 20th (2015) and 18th (2016).
Mason Speta SR. (37-25)
Speta is the only Lion that will be fencing in her fourth straight national championship. Last year, Speta finished tied for third in the individual women's epee championships, and earned first team All-America honors. That was a huge improvement from her performance in 2015, when she was 11th and 2014, when finished 21st.
Speta placed 6th at this year's NCAA Northeast Regionals with a 16-7 overall record. The senior will be looking to top off her Columbia fencing career with her third straight title in four years.
Lena Johnson JR. (47-21)
Johnson has never experienced a championship loss. She joins Angen and Speta as the three Columbia fencers to fence in their third straight title match. Johnson had a bronze finish at NCAA Northeast Regionals with a 16-7 overall record, and 7-4 in the final pool last weekend. This came after a first-team All-Ivy nod at Ivy League Championships, with an 11-4 record over the course of the weekend.
Johnson finished in ninth place in both her championship appearances in 2015 and 2016. The junior was featured in Sports Illustrated's February edition of "Faces in the Crowd," which features up and coming amateur athletes throughout the country.
Ilana Solomon SO. (54-18)
Solomon is one the six fencers that will be fencing at NCAA Championships for the first time. The sophomore put together a stellar second year campaign, with a 54-18 overall record.
At NCAA Northeast Regionals, she finished in 5th place in the final pool of 12, and 14-8 overall. Solomon lost just once in her ten bouts at Ivy League Championships this season.