NEW YORK, NY - Columbia fencing celebrated its 2018 season at the annual fencing banquet at Low Library on Friday evening.
This banquet wrapped up the 2018 fencing season, in which the men's and women's fencing team both won Ivy league titles and the squad finished second at NCAA championships. Nine fencers recieved All-America status, and 12 were named All-Ivy League.
First-years Sidarth Kumbla and Sylvie Binder took home the first award of the evening, the Norman Blackman Award, awarded to the member of the fencing team who best embodies the qualities of athletic accomplishment, sportsmanship, and community, in honor of Norman Blackman '41CC. Binder and Kumbla were both first team All-Americans after finishing in third place at the NCAA Championships, and were both first team All-Ivy league selections. Blackman's daughter, Allison, presented the award.
Porter Hesslegrave was awarded the James Murray Memorial trophy for the second consecutive season which is given to fencer who has made the most significant contribution to the men's fencing team.
Both Katie Angen '18BC and Lena Johnson '18BC were honored with the women's fencing award, for the women who have made the greatest contribution to the team based on team leadership and ability. Angen and Johnson both captained the Lions during their junior and senior seasons, and were named second team All-Ivy this season. Angen earned second team All-America status this season, while Johnson was an honorable mention All-American.
Junior Iman Blow and sophomore Sam Moelis received the Kestler Award, for the fencers who inspires the team to superior performance and leads the way to victory, following the example set by Dr. Tony Kestler, Columbia College Class of 1971 and NCAA Men's Foil Champion in 1969. Blow, the NCAA Women's foil champion, received this award for the second consecutive season. Moelis, who finished as the NCAA Runner-Up, adds this award to his trophy case after taking home the Norman Blackman award during his rookie campaign. Both Blow and Moelis were Academic All-Ivy league selections.
The last award of the night, the Meade Anderson Spirit Award was presented to Gianna Vierheller. The award honors Meade Anderson, a former Columbia Men's foilist who passed away in 2007.
It is given to the fencer whose attitude embodies the spirit of Columbia Fencing, instilling positivity and energy throughout the team. Vierheller was given this award by Anderson's parents, Andy and Patt Anderson, as well as Angad Singh '16CC, who won the award in 2016.
The Lions said goodbye to their 12 seniors, who brought Columbia Fencing back to dominance with two consecutive NCAA Championships (2015, 2016), four Ivy League men's titles and three Ivy League Championships on the women's side.