The 1988 Columbia men's fencing team had one the most successful collegiate fencing seasons in program history.
Under the direction of co-head coaches George Kolombatovich and Aladar Kogler, and assistant coach Joel Gluksman, the 1988 team saw enormous success, fencing their way to a second consecutive NCAA Championship, an Intercollegiate Fencing Association Championship and an Ivy League Championship.
The Lions finished the 1988 season with a perfect 13-0 mark, including an unbeaten 5-0 Ivy League record, to win Columbia's third consecutive Ivy League title. As defending champions, all eyes were on Columbia at 1988 NCAA Fencing Championships. On the first day of competition, March Kent won the individual foil, starting the Lions off on the right foot.
Bob Cottingham followed suit on the second day of competition with an individual sabre title. On the final day of competition, Jon Normile won the individual epee with a 10-2 victory over Notre Dame's Todd Friffey to complete a sweep of the individual crowns for the Lions. Columbia finished with a perfect 90 points. It was the first time in 27 years that one school won all three events at the NCAA Championships.
Individually, the three NCAA Champions - Cottingham, Kent, and Normile - were named NCAA Fencers of the Year and earned All-America status. Columbia added three more to the All-America team, with Chris Reohr (Men's Sabre), Bill Mindel (Men's foil), and Marc Oshima (Men's Epee) earning the distinction. Cottingham and Ivan Fernandez- Madrid (Men's Foil) were also IFA Individual Champions that season.
In the Ivy League, the Lions claimed six of the then first team All-Ivy League spots. In the foil, Bill Mindel earned his fourth first team selection after dueling his way to an impressive 12-3 mark. Marc Kent (11-4) and Ivan Fernandez-Madrid (10-5) represented Columbia foil as second team All-Ivy League picks.
The epee team was led by Jon Normile, a first team All-Ivy League selection, who finished with a 13-2 record against League foes. Marc Oshima was also named to the epee first team.
Columbia swept all three of the sabre All-Ivy League first team selections. Bob Cottingham garnered his fourth selection with a perfect 12-0 mark to lead the honorees. Chris Reohr and Jon Abbey also earned first team honors with 14-1 and 12-3 records respectively.
The Lions defeated 12 of their 13 opponents by double digits. The closes bout of the season was versus Penn State, which Columbia won 15-12.