Fencers Earn Two Second-Place Finishes, Twelve All-League Selections in Ivy League Championships

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Alen Hadzic (r) was one of seven first-team All-Ivy Leaguers.
Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Gene Boyars

How well did Columbia fence in the 2013 Ivy League Championships, which concluded Sunday?
   
The women's team took to the fencing strips for 162 individual bouts, and won 109, a cool 67%. The men fought 135 bouts, capturing 84, for 62%.
   
Those victories gave both teams second places in the final Ivy League standings, the women trailing only defending champion Princeton, the men in a three-way tie for second with the Tigers and Penn, just behind Harvard. The combined second-places by the two Lion teams were Columbia's best since the 2009 squads also netted two seconds.
   
And first place, the target of both the men and women this winter? Very close, particularly for the men's team.
   
"Our men had eight losses by one-touch margins against Princeton in a 16-11 loss," head coach Michael Aufrichtig noted after combing through the score sheets, "and just one one-touch win. If we had just won three more one-touch bouts, we would have won.
   
"We had five one-touch losses against Harvard, in a 15-12 defeat. If we win two more one-touch bouts, we beat Harvard, too."
   
Columbia got off to good starts in most of its matches, doing well in the first rounds of the three-round matches. But against Princeton, the second round proved decisive, as the Tigers overcame first-round Columbia successes to gain solid margins.
   
As Michael Josephs said, "We put ourselves in a hole, too big to dig out of."
   
And while the Lions fought back fiercely to gain regain advantages in the third rounds, their lack of Ivy League experience hurt their chances.
   
"The Ivy League Championships are really nerve-wracking," junior Alen Hadzic said. "They're no joke,"
   
The pressure and intensity increased markedly in the third rounds of matches, exemplified by the crescendo of vocal support from teammates, which echoed off Gordon Track's roof and walls.
   
Sophomore epeeist Natalie Gegan, appearing in her first Ivy championship, could not help but notice it.
   
"We really wanted to win today," she said, "but it's a lot easier if you have done it once [before]. I think Princeton fought harder at the end of our match, and we started getting emotional."
   
Nevertheless, Columbia continued to fence with spirit and skill. As a result, 12 Lions were first or second team All-Ivy League, determined strictly by won-lost records.
   
Four women and three men earned first-team honors, including three Ivy League "rookies" -- Jackie Dubrovich and Margaret Lu in women's foil, and Brian Ro in men's epee. Sophomore Olympian Nzingha Prescod also made first team in women's foil, while Hadzic and sophomore sabre fencer Will Spear each earned their second first-team slot.
   
The All-Ivy League second team included two veterans, Loweye and Essane Diedro -- between them, the twin sisters boast five All-Ivy honors -- and three first-time honorees, Natalie Gegan and Michael Josephs, both sophomores, and freshman foilist Harry Bergman.
   
Columbia next competes in the NCAA Northeast Regional, Sunday, March 10 at St. John's. The competition, which helps to determine qualifiers for the NCAA Championships, begins at 10 a.m.

2013 ALL-IVY LEAGUE (Columbia only)


First Team (men): a-Alen Hadzic (Jr., Montclair, N.J.), epee; Brian Ro (Fr., Scarsdale, N.Y.), epee; b-Will Spear (So., Wynantskill, N.Y.), sabre
First Team (women): Jackie Dubrovich (Fr., Riverdale, N.J.), foil; c-Lydia Kopecky (Sr., Chicago, Ill.), epee; Margaret Lu (Fr., Greenwich, Conn.), foil; d-Nzingha Prescod (So., Brooklyn, N.Y.)

Second Team (men): Harry Bergman (Fr., Lebanon, N.J.), foil; Michael Josephs (So., Chevy Chase, Md.), sabre
Second Team (women): e-Essane Diedro (Sr., Freeport, N.Y.), sabre; f-Loweye Diedro (Sr., Freeport, N.Y.), sabre; Natalie Gegan (So., Culver City, Calif.), epee
     
a- first team, 2011
b- first team, 2012
c- first team, 2010; second team, 2011
d- first team, 2011
e- second team, 2012
f- first team, 2011; first team, 2012

THE 2013 IVY LEAGUE ROUND-ROBIN FENCING CHAMPIONSHIPS
March 3-4, 2013
Gordon Track, Harvard University

Final Standings


Men's: Harvard 5-0; Columbia, Penn, and Princeton 3-2; Yale 1-4; Brown 0-5
Women's: Princeton 6-0, COLUMBIA 5-1, Harvard 4-2, Penn 3-3, Cornell 2-4, Penn 1-5, Yale 0-6

Individual Standings (Columbia only)

Men
Sabre: 1. Will Spear, 10-2; 4. Michael Josephs, 10-4; 8. Geoff Loss, 7-5. Also, Rienzi Gokea, 2-1; Mel Rodriguez, 2-2
Foil: 5. Harry Bergman, 9-6; 8. Adam Mathieu, 8-7; 11. Alex Pensler, 6-8. Also, Bo Charles, 1-0
Epee: 1. Alen Hadzic, 12-3; 3. Brian Ro, 9-4; 10. Jake Hoyle, 6-6. Also, Justin Wan, 2-3

Women
Sabre: 5. Essane Diedro 11-4; 6. Loweye Diedro 10-6; 14. Sarah Yee, 7-9. Also, Emma Sulkowicz, 1-2; Laura Hunter-Thomas, 0-1; Sarah Gruman, 0-4
Foil: 1. Margaret Lu, 16-2; 2. Jackie Dubrovich, 14-2; 3. Nzingha Prescod, 12-2. Also, D'Meca Homer, 5-1
Epee: 3. Lydia Kopecky, 13-5; 6. Natalie Gegan, 9-5. Also, Emma Peterson, 5-4; Diana Tsinis, 6-7

MEN (3-2)

Saturday Matches


Columbia 20, Brown 7
S: Josephs 3-0, Rodriguez 2-1, Gokea 2-1 (7-2 overall)
F: Pensler 2-1, Bergman 2-1, Mathieu 2-1 (6-3)
E: Hadzic 2-1, Hoyle 2-1, Ro 3-0 (7-2)

Columbia 21, Penn 6
S: Spear 2-1, Josephs 1-2, Loss 2-1 (5-4)
F: Pensler 3-0, Bergman 3-0, Mathieu 2-1 (8-1)
E: Hadzic 3-0, Hoyle 1-1, Ro 3-0, Wan 1-0 (8-1

Columbia 20, Yale 7
S: Spear 3-0, Loss 3-0, Rodriguez 0-1, Josephs 2-0 (8-1)
F: Pensler 0-2, Bergman 3-0, Mathieu 2-1, Charles 1-0 (6-3)
E: Hadzic 2-1, Hoyle 2-1, Wan 1-1, Ro 1-0 (6-3)

Harvard 15, Columbia 12
S: Spear 3-0, Josephs 2-1, Loss 1-2 (6-3)
F: Pensler 0-3, Bergman 0-3, Mathieu 1-2 (1-8)
E: Hadzic 2-1, Hoyle 1-2, Ro 2-1 (5-4)

Sunday Match

Princeton 16, Columbia 11
S: Spear 2-1, Josephs 2-1, Loss 1-2 (5-4)
F: Pensler 1-2, Bergman 1-2, Mathieu 1-2 (3-6)
E: Hadzic 3-0, Ro 0-3, Hoyle 0-1, Wan 0-2 (3-6)

WOMEN (5-1)

Saturday Matches

Columbia 19, Brown 8
S: Yee 3-0, Gruman 0-2, Sulkowicz 1-1, L. Diedro 1-0, E. Diedro 1-0 (6-3)
F: Lu 3-0, Dubrovich 2-0, Homer 2-1, Prescod 1-0 (8-1)
E: Kopecky 2-1, Tsinis 2-1, Peterson 1-2 (5-4)

Columbia 19, Penn 8

S: L. Diedro 2-1, E. Diedro 3-0, Yee 0-3 (5-4)
F: Lu 2-1, Dubrovich 3-0, Prescod 2-1 (7-2)
E: Kopecky 2-1, Tsinis 3-0, Gegan 2-1 (7-2)

Columbia 22, Yale 5

S: L. Diedro 2-1, E. Diedro 2-0, Yee 2-1, Gruman 0-1 (6-3)
F: Homer 3-0, Lu 3-0, Dubrovich 2-0, Prescod 1-0 (9-0)
E: Kopecky 3-0, Peterson 2-1, Tsinis 0-1, Gegan 2-0 (7-2)

Columbia 20, Harvard 7
S: L. Diedro 2-1, E. Diedro 3-0, Yee 2-1 (7-2)
F: Lu 3-0, Dubrovich 3-0, Prescod 3-0 (9-0)
E: Kopecky 2-1, Tsinis 0-3, Gegan 2-1 (4-5)

Sunday Matches

Princeton 18, Columbia 9
S: L. Diedro 1-2, E. Diedro 0-3, Yee 0-2, Hunter-Thomas 0-1 (1-8)
F: Lu 2-1, Dubrovich 1-2, Prescod 2-1 (5-4)
E: Kopecky 1-2, Tsinis 1-2, Gegan 1-2 (3-6)

Columbia 20, Cornell 7
S: L. Diedro 2-1, E. Diedro 2-1, Yee 0-2, Gruman 0-1 (4-5)
F: Lu 3-0, Dubrovich 3-0, Prescod 3-0 (9-0)
E: Kopecky 3-0, Gegan 2-1, Peterson 2-1 (7-2)

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