NEW YORK - Fencers of all ages came together Sunday morning in the Dodge Physical Fitness Center for the annual Alumni Match.
Coming off a successful and exciting season that saw the Columbia men's team tie for the Ivy League championship with Harvard, and the women narrowly miss the crown, the keynote of the entire morning was optimism.
"Our theme for this season is "Champion Mindset", head coach Michael Aufrichtig told the assemblage of present and former fencers.
"The first step is to believe we can do it," he continued. "[Then] we have to believe it even more."
One fencer who believes already is sophomore epeeist Vivian Rand, Citing the returning Lions and "so many great freshmen", she concluded, with total conviction, "We are Champions."
Aufrichtig has instituted a grueling pre-season fitness program, guided by Verb Fitness, an outfit which has formulated a set of movements geared to fencers. Junior Angad Singh produced a short video illustrating the program the Lions are following.
"They are working so hard!" the coach said.
Another highlight of the assembly was a match pitting the alumni against the varsity. As usual, the alumni won, the trio of 2012 Olympian and NCAA champion Jeff Spear '10CC, Gregory Gall '73CC, '80 Arch, and Noah Zucker '98CC besting the present Lions.
Jeff Spear won the final bout, 45-43 over his brother, Will Spear, a Columbia senior co-captain.
The Lions hosts the Columbia Invitational Friday, Nov. 14 to open their 2014-15 season against the University of Florida, Stevens, NJIT and Fairleigh Dickinson.