29 Nov 2021 | 10:11 | Fencing
COLUMBUS, Ohio – For the 14th time in program history and first under the guidance of head coach Michael Aufrichtig, the Columbia University fencing program has claimed the NCAA National Championship.
Coming into the final day at the French Field House, the Lions held an eight-point lead over Penn State and remained stable through the final day of competition before opening a nine-point gap that clinched the program’s third joint men’s/women’s NCAA fencing championship under a format that began in 1990. The Lions also claimed the national championships in 1951, 1952, 1954, 1955, 1963, 1965, 1968, 1971, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1992 and 1993.
Columbia became the fifth different team to win the national title in the last five years and the second Ivy to do so in the last three. Princeton won the national title in 2013.
Since the format change in 1990, it is the fifth time an Ivy League squad has won the fencing title. Harvard won the championship in 2006.
After entering the day with 136 points and 42 bouts remaining for the team, the Lions wasted little to no touches, claiming 29 of those available points to take their team total to 165 points. Penn State and Notre Dame could climb no closer than nine points, totaling 156 victories each, but the Nittany Lions outweighed the Fighting Irish’s scoring indicator by 31 touches (176-145) for second and third, respectively. Princeton (145) and Ohio State (137) rounded out the top five.
Harvard finished seventh, followed by Penn (eighth), Brown (13th), Cornell (17th) and Yale (18th).
Over the course of the first two days, the men’s team rose high for a combined 81 victories. Four of the six Columbia men earned All-America honors and junior epeeists Jake Hoyle and Brian Ro made it to the medal round and fenced each other in the semifinals. Hoyle prevailed and went on to defeat Princeton’s Jack Hudson for the NCAA Men’s Epee Individual Title.
Columbia’s fate fell on the tips of the women’s swords. The Lions were in a tight battle with Penn State and Notre Dame after the men’s competition. The Columbia women vaulted the team into first place at Saturday’s close and held off the Nittany Lions and Fighting Irish Sunday for the win.
Hoyle was the only Ivy to win an individual national championship, defeating Princeton’s Jack Hudson in the men’s epee final. A total of 25 Ivies placed in the Top 10 in their individual weapons. Columbia’s Margaret Lu was also a runner-up, placing second in women’s foil.