COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Alen Hadzic won six of nine bouts on Day Four of the NCAA Fencing Championships, which combined with his 11-4 record Saturday, earned him second place in the team men's epee competition, and a place in the Epee Final Four.
The sophomore from Montclair, N.J., proceeded to stage a miracle comeback in the semifinals, rallying from a 12-7 deficit to Ohio State's Kristian Boyadzhiev by scoring seven consecutive touches for a 14-12 lead.
Boyadzhiev finally broke the string with a touch to draw within one, 14-13. But Hadzic immediately scored the winning touch in the 15-touch bout
In the finals, Alen faced an old foe and friend, Princeton's John Yergler. Hadzic never led against Yergler, who was 2011 NCAA runner-up, twice drawing even, at 1-1 and 2-2. From a 5-4 score, Yergler hit four of the next six touches for a 9-6 lead at the one-minute break.
Hadzic scored a touch after the break to come within two at 9-7, only to see Yergler post five more touches in a row, and a 14-8 lead. The bout ended moments later, at 15-8.
Hadzic was the first Columbia fencer to reach the national finals since Nicole Ross won the women's foil championship in 2010. He finished the highest of any men's fencer since Dwight Smith was third in men's epee the same year.
With a top-four finish, Hadzic earned first-team All-America honors. His two Columbia teammates in the NCAA men's competition, first-years Will Spear and Michael Josephs, also made All-America. Spear, who finished fifth in Men's Sabre, just four touches short of the Sabre Final Four, is second team All-America, while Josephs earned third team All-America after finishing 11th, also in sabre.
A full article on the final day of the 2012 NCAA Fencing Championships will be posted later, although probably not until tomorrow (Monday) due to the tight travel timetable for the Lions' return to New York.