NEW YORK – Columbia fencing will begin its 2017-18 campaign this weekend with the annual Alumni Meet in the fencing room on Sunday, beginning at 10 a.m.
The Lions will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the doors to the new and improved fencing room before the Alumni Meet.
10:00AM Check in
10:30AM - Welcome and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
10:45AM - 12:00PM - Fencing Alumni Vs. Team
12:15PM - 2:00PM - Brunch and Ring Presentation
Coming off a third place finish at the NCAA Championships, a men’s Ivy League title and a women’s Ivy League runner up season, the Lions are hungry to get back on the strip to start the 2017-18 campaign.
Here are some story lines headed into the season.
MEN’S FOIL BACK FOR MORE
Men’s and women’s foil squads both had a stellar 2017 campaign. That was especially put on display at the NCAA Championships.
The duo of Nolen Scruggs and Sam Moelis, combined for a 33-12 record at NCAA Championships. Individually, Scruggs fenced his way to the championship round and finished as the NCAA Runner Up, while Moelis was also an All-American with a fifth place finish.
Scruggs and Moelis are back to anchor the foil squad. First-year Sidarth Kumbla is also a name to look out for on the foil squad. The 2016 Pan American and Div I individual champion is the most decorated incomer, with team gold medals from both Junior World Championships and Pan American championships this year. Kumbla most recently got an individual silver medal at the North American Cup in California on October 15.
WOMEN’S FOIL: LESS IS MORE
The women’s foil squad said goodbye to seniors Margaret Lu, who was a 4-time Ivy League Individual Champion and All-Ivy Leaguer Sara Taffel after last season, but that doesn’t mean the squad will take a step back.
Iman Blow is back to build off her great sophomore year, which was capped off by a 19-4 NCAA Championship performance and an All-American nod. Alongside her will be junior Quinn Crum, who went 43-5 last season and is 85-11 in her two seasons with Columbia.
First-year Sylvie Binder, like Kumbla, has also shined on the international stage. She is currently ranked No. 1 in the USA in Junior Women’s Foil and helped the USA win silver at the 2017 Junior World Championships with Blow.
The fourth member of the small but powerful women’s foil team is sophomore Ester Schreiber. The Sweden native dropped just 4 of her 44 bouts last season. With only four women on the foil squad, each fencer will be looked out to play a key role.
9 of the 12 fencers who represented Columbia at the NCAA Championships are back for this season with the hopes of reclaiming the thrown a top the college fencing scene.
Senior captains Katie Angen and Lena Johnson have both fenced in three straight NCAA Championships. Senior captain and epee fencer Porter Hesslegrave is coming off his second consecutive championship appearance and his fellow senior epee fencer Gabe Canaux fenced in his first last season. With two team titles unde their belt during their Columbia career's, in 2015 and 2016, the senior class is looking to go out how they started.
SWEET OR SABREY
Calvin Liang fenced in his second straight NCAA Championships last season and is the clear leader of the men’s sabre squad. Liang will welcome back sophomore Andrew Doddo, who fenced in just 18 bouts last season with only one loss, before being sidelined due to a shoulder injury for the rest of the season. Doddo is healthy and ready to go for this season, and will be looked at to fill the shoes of Michael Costin who is gone to graduation.
Sophomore Alexander Walker III fenced in many meaningful bouts last season and will look to build on his experiences. First-years Josef Cohen and Dawson Sieradzky could also emerge as key contributors.
Columbia’s first two meets will be held in regional format – meaning that the fencers will be competing individually. The coaches decided to hold meets like this for the first time this season in order to prepare fencers for the NCAA regionals at the end of the season.
The Lions get started at the Temple Invitational next Saturday, October 28th in Philadelphia.