NEW YORK—The Columbia fencing teams came away with a 14-13 come-from-behind men’s win and 25-2 women’s victory over New York University in the NYU-Columbia Challenge Tuesday evening at Rosenthal Pavilion at Kimmel Center. The dual match was contested on the 10th floor of the beautiful Rosenthal Pavilion at Kimmel Center, which features a view of Washington Square Park and panoramic skyline of New York City.

Fencing without three starters—Andrew Doddo, Calvin Liang and Sam Moelis, Columbia’s men’s squad used its depth to rally from deficits of 10-8 and 11-10 to register its 14-13 victory.

Trailing 10-8, Porter Hesslegrave started the rally with a 5-3 epee victory, followed by Jakob Stymne’s come-from-behind 5-4 epee win. Those wins cut the deficit to 11-10 and Alex Walker’s 5-4 win in the sabre and Mick Yamanaka’s epee win gave Columbia a 12-11 lead. Another Stymne win in the epee made it 13-12. Michael Costin sealed the victory with Columbia’s victory clinching 14th win in the epee. In the end, Columbia’s key to victory was its six wins in the epee competition.

“On the men’s side, the one thing we really try to have is a deep squad, as deep as we can,” Columbia fencing coach Michael Aufrichtig said. “When your turn comes, it’s your time to shine. Whoever was starting this evening, it was their turn. They did what they had to do. We battled. A 14-13 win was tight, but it’s a win.”

“We’ve been doing a lot of that this year,” Aufrichtig said. “We start down, but all of sudden we start winning bouts and we get the job done.”

It was a different story for the Columbia women. The women rallied from the very start and never looked back in taking a 25-2 win. Columbia was also without the services of two normal starters—Lena Johnson and Anastasia Ivanoff—but the Lions didn’t miss a beat as eight student-athletes registered undefeated evenings. The Lions also received a boost from Margaret Lu, who switched over to sabre from her typical foil competition.

“Margaret is a world team member, five-time national champion and normally a foil competitor,” Aufrichtig said. “Two of our top sabre fencers were out. As a senior, Margaret stepped in as a leader and said she’d fence with sabre and we took it from there.”

Lu finished the match with a 3-0 record in the sabre. She wasn’t alone as Violet Michel and Ilana Solomon also went 3-0 in the sabre. Sara Taffel and Ester Schreiber both finished 3-0 in foil competition and Katie Angen went 3-0 in the epee.

The event held special meaning for Aufrichtig, a former NYU fencer and 1994 graduate of NYU’s Stern School of Business. He said he and NYU coach Steve Mormando discussed the idea for the event while attending a Hall of Fame ceremony last May at Rosenthal Pavilion at Kimmel Center.

“Credit NYU for hosting us,” Aufrichtig said. “It was old-school fencing tonight, dual match, NYU vs. Columbia above Washington Square Park. It’s the way it should be.”

Columbia was presented trophies for both wins.


Sabre (Columbia, 9-0)

Margaret Lu 3-0

Violet Michel 3-0

Ilana Solomon 3-0

Foil (Columbia, 8-1)

Sara Taffel 3-0

Ester Schreiber 3-0

Quinn Crum 2-1

Epee (Columbia, 8-1)

Katie Angen 3-0

Elise Gout 2-1

Audrey Yun 2-0

Jasmine Bissete 1-0


Sabre (NYU 5-4)

Michael Costin 2-1

Alex Walker 1-2

Chris Ahn 1-2

Foil (NYU 5-4)

James Sands 0-2

John Avendano 0-1

Nolen Scruggs 3-0

Drew Johnston 1-2

Epee (Columbia 6-3)

Porter Hesslegrave 2-1

Mick Yamanaka 1-2

Jakob Stymne 3-0