The Hopkins men’s and women’s fencing teams have both had impressive early starts to the 2017-2018 season. Both teams went unbeaten at Haverford College’s Dan Arnstein Invitational, and the women made a special showing at the NIWFA Christmas Invitational, claiming two titles and placing four in the top three for their respective weapon.
At the tournament Haverford hosted, both the men’s and women’s teams convincingly defeated every one of their opponents. The Blue Jays made their first appearance in early November when they competed in the Penn State Garrett Open as the only D-III team.
Senior Épée Lyle Poisson discussed the experience.
“In terms of D-I schools, at least for me, I like to treat it like any other bout,” he noted. “We tend to help each other out more in tough bouts — coaching each other, calling times out and talking through bouts afterwards.”
Coming back after facing stiff D-I competition and a couple weeks of rest, the Blue Jays made the win at Haverford look easy. The men started their day at Haverford with a dominating win over the College of William & Mary Tribe, dropping just one of 27 bouts for a final team score of 26-1. The Épée squad, made up of Poisson and junior William Snyder, went 9-0 against the Tribe. The Foil squad followed suit with a 9-0 final score, while the Sabre squad would drop the Jays’ single bout against the Tribe, finishing 8-1.
Next, the Jays took on the United States Naval Academy Navy Midshipmen, a matchup they would again dominate in all three weapons. With three wins, Snyder continued to lead the Épée squad, which finished 7-2, while the Sabre squad went unbeaten for nine wins. The Foil squad went undefeated in their second straight round of competition. The Jays claimed the win over the Tribe with another impressive team score of 25-2, leaving them with only three losses on the day after 54 bouts.
In their third matchup, the Jays faced off against the University of Maryland Terrapins, winning 23-4 with a three-weapon sweep. The Sabre squad picked up seven wins against the Terps, dropping just two bouts. The Épée squad, which finished the matchup 8-1, was led by Poisson, who went 3-0.
Finally, the Foil squad dropped their first bout of the day, finishing 8-1 against the Terps. The Jays then took on the home team, the Haverford Fords, in their final matchup of the day. Despite winning just one weapon (Épée), the Jays were able to solidify their team dominance on the day with a close 15-12 win over the Fords. In Sabre, freshman Vance Wood, junior Brian Huang and senior Sandy Vingoe each won a single bout. Sophomore Adam Katwan went 3-0 for the Foil squad for their only wins against the Fords. Meanwhile, the Jays won the Épée as sophomore Tiger Gao went 3-0, claiming his 100th career win in the final bout.
On the women’s side, the team opened its first dual meet of the year by going undefeated against their three opponents. To start, the women took on the Tribe with a 22-5 win and a sweep in all three weapons. The Épée squad pulled off a close 5-4 win. Meanwhile, the Foil squad, made up of junior Rebecca Rosenthal, sophomore Katherine Xiang and freshman Brooke Stanicki, swept the Tribe 9-0. The Sabre squad went 8-1 and was led by sophomores Natalie Martinez and Alicja Tomaszewski, who both went 3-0.
The Blue Jays continued to assert themselves with yet another easy win, this time sweeping all three weapons in a matchup against the Midshipmen. The Foil squad continued their undefeated record on the day, going 9-0, while the Sabre and the Épée squads finished 8-1 and 7-2 against the Mids, respectively.
To close out the day, the Jays took on the host team. Like the men, the women’s final matchup of the tournament against the Fords turned out to be their closest of the day. The Épée Squad saw their first loss on the day, finishing 4-5. Of the four wins in Épée, freshman Shaina Morris had three, going undefeated in her round against the Fords. Both the Sabre and the Foil squads picked up their third win of the day, as the Jays finished 17-10 against the host.
The women finished up their 2017 calendar year with a special showing at the NIWFA Christmas Invitational. Hopkins claimed two titles on the day, as Martinez and Morris took first-place finishes in the Sabre and the Épée, respectively. This was the first time since 2011 that Hopkins won multiple titles at the Invitational. Martinez became the second Sabre champion in program history. Additionally, junior Shiaomeng Tse finished just behind Martinez in second place for the Sabre.
In the Épée, Hopkins won the title for the second straight year and the sixth time overall. Xiang led the Jays with a third-place finish for the second top-three finish of her career.
After a solid start to the season, the Blue Jays will take some time to rest and recuperate heading into the winter break. Hopkins will start the 2018 calendar year at the U.S. Fencing North American Cup in Virginia Beach, Va. on Jan. 5-8.