29 Nov 2021 | 10:07 | Fencing
Portions courtesy of Columbia Athletic Communications and Harvard Athletic Communications; Photo courtesy of Columbia Athletic Communications/Mike Broglio Sportspix
WALTHAM, Mass. — For the second-consecutive year and 15th time in program history, Columbia was crowned the best in the country as the Lions earned the 2016 NCAA Division I Fencing team title on Sunday at Brandeis University’s Gosman Sports and Convocation Center.
The Lions’ Jake Hoyle also picked up his second-straight individual title in the men’s epee to round out his collegiate career. On the women’s side on Friday, Harvard junior Adrienne Jarocki captured her second-career national title in the saber, repeating the feat from her freshman year.
Columbia becomes only the second team since 2000 to earn back-to-back national titles after Penn State was able to complete the task in 2009 and 2010. For Columbia, this marks the fourth overall combined title since the championship changed to the current format in 1990 while the Lions also won back-to-back titles in 1992-1993.
“Our goal every year is to be the best fencers we can be, the best teammates we can be and the best individuals we can be,” said head coach Michael Aufrichtig. “In doing this, we have built a championship program and with that comes titles, both conference and national. Everyone is so proud of everything we have accomplished this season.”
After heading into the final day with a 13-point lead, Columbia finished the four-day event with a team total of 174, just seven points higher than second-place Ohio State (167) after posting a touch indicator of +215 while recording a field-leading 1,125 touches.
After the women’s squad was able to finish its two days of action with with 86 total victories, the men were able to dominate the field and pick up 88 wins to secure the team victory. As a team, the Lions were able to combine for 30 points in three of six weapons while not scoring any less than 24 in any of them.
Leading the way on the men’s side was Hoyle, who was able to retain his NCAA title after a dramatic finish in the men’s epee final four.
“I just pushed myself to win as many bouts for the team as I could,” said Hoyle. “It’s a tough tournament so you always have to be right there in the now. It was my last college bout so I just wanted to have fun and fence my best.”
Jarocki helped the Crimson to a seventh-place team team finish with her gold-medal performance, going a combined 19-4 at the tournament. In the championship round, Jarocki faced Princeton’s Gracie Stone, with Jarocki clinching the title with a 15-10 victory.
“Having the upset my sophomore year actually makes this win that much sweeter,” stated Jarocki after the win. “I was able to put last year in the past and get ahead in this one. The NCAA Championship is a marathon, so being able to push through it is the key.”
Among other Ivy League teams, Princeton placed third and Penn took eighth. Cornell (15th), Yale (17th) and Brown (23rd) rounded out the conference’s representation.