NEW YORK — Columbia first-years have been arriving on campus all week. Among them have been the ten fencers who will join the Columbia Fencing program this fall. The group features six male fencers and four women’s fencers. The men’s newcomers include two fencers of each weapon. On the women’s side, one foilist and one sabrist, as well as two epee fencers will join the squad.
“I am very excited about this year’s incoming class,” Coach Michael Aufrichtig said. “They bring a lot of competition experience, both domestic and international, which will help them fit right into our championship program.”
Josef Cohen - SABRE
Cohen joins the men’s squad from Rhode Island where he graduated from Barrington High School. Cohen calls Rhode Island Fencing Academy his fencing home, where he was sabre captain for the past two years.
Cohen placed eighth individually at the 2014 Hungary Cadet World Cup and earned a bronze medal in the team event. He received an individual bronze at the 2014 Portland Cadet North American Cup.
Cohen was persuaded to come to Columbia by fellow Rhode Island Fencing Academy member and current Junior foil fencer, Quinn Crum.
Sidarth Kumbla – FOIL
Kumbla comes to Morningside Heights from San Jose, Calif. where he graduated from Archbishop Mitty High school, and was a four-time US Fencing All-Academic First-Team honoree.
On the strip, Kumbla had quite a successful 2017 season, as a member of the gold medal teams at both the Junior World Championships and Pan American Championships. Kumbla also grabbed an individual gold in men’s foil at the 2016 Pan American Championships and was the 2016 Division I July Challenge Champion.
Julian Maldonado – EPEE
Maldonado hails from Texas where he attended the International School of Americas in San Antonio, and fences at the Alamo Fencing Academy. He placed 40th individually at the 2016 Junior Olympics in Cadets. Maldonado has strong connections to the Ivy League, as his mother, Nina Perales graduated from Columbia Law, and his father, Javier Maldonado, is a 1990 graduate of Columbia College. Julian’s brother, Javier, is a junior at Yale.
SeungJe Roh - FOIL
Roh is one of two newcomers from South Korea, where he graduated from the Korea Christian International School in the Republic of Korea. After Roh visited Columbia in 2013, he knew he wanted to attend. He sites Japanese Fencer Yuki Ota and German Fencer Peter Joppich as his favorite athletes.
Dawson Sieradzky - SABRE
Sieradzky has been at the forefront of the New Jersey High School fencing scene for the past four years. A 2017 graduate of Wayne Hills High School, Sieradzky is a 2-time individual state champion, one-time team champion in 2016 and a four-year All-County and All-State fencer. He was also the NJ.com Boys Fencer of the Year in 2015 and 2016. On the international stage, Sieradzky was a member of the 2015 cadet world team.
Of the five men’s fencing graduates from last season, four of them were sabre fencers. Sieradzky will have the opportunity to step in and fill some big shoes.
Hyun Sung Woo - EPEE
Hyun Sung Woo is a 2017 graduate of Georgetown Preparatory School in North Bethesda, Maryland. He is from Seoul, South Korea, and it has always been his dream to come and fence at Columbia.
Sylvie Binder – FOIL
Binder arrives at Columbia from Armonk, New York and is a 2017 graduate of Byram Hills High School. Binder, alongside junior women’s foil fencer Iman Blow, took home silver at the 2017 Junior World Championships. At the cadet level, Binder won individual and team gold at the 2016 world championships and individual bronze at the 2015 world championships.
With three strong foil fencers from last season gone to graduation, including 2017 NCAA bronze medalist Margaret Lu, Binder will be a fresh face on the historically strong women’s foil squad.
Maria Chart – SABRE
Chart comes to New York from across the pond, where she graduated from the Truro School in the United Kingdom. She is a two-time Junior British Champion in 2016 and 2017 and placed 28th at this year’s Junior World championships. Chart also fenced all four years for the Truro School, where she won the 2016 public school women’s sabre championship.
LeeAnn Choy – EPEE
Like Sieradzky, Choy is a heavily decorated New Jersey state fencer. Choy is a 2017 graduate of Ridge High School, where she won three consecutive New Jersey Individual Women’s Epee titles. She is a three-time NJ.com Girls Fencer of the Year, and finished with an overall high school record of 85-15.
Choy joins her older brothers as collegiate fencers. Phillip Choy fenced foil at Air Force, and Jason Choy fenced sabre at Notre Dame.
Kenya Plenty – EPEE
Plenty was born in London, England but now calls New York home. She is a 2017 graduate of the Brearly School, where she also played basketball.
Plenty fences at the New York Athletic Club and is was a member of the 2017 Junior Women’s Epee National Championship team at the February Junior Olympics. She was also a member of the 2016 USA Cadet World team.