While the Penn men's fencing team may have been forced to share the Ivy League title with Princeton and Columbia, the team achieved a level of success Saturday that puts it head and shoulders above the rest of the schools in the Ancient Eight. The Quakers, by earning 80 wins out of 108 bouts, finished second overall at the Intercollegiate Fencing Association Championships last weekend. In capturing the second spot, Penn finished ahead of both Princeton (third) and Columbia (fourth), Penn's co-leaders atop the Ancient Eight standings. The Quakers also earned a piece of history in the process. By virtue of winning the foil competition, the Red and Blue collected the Little Ironman trophy -- the oldest trophy in intercollegiate athletics -- for the first time since 1977. "It's a very prestigious trophy and we're most proud to have it back," Penn coach Dave Micahnik said. "We've had the best foilists before and failed to win it, so this is very sweet." Perennial power St. John's won the men's title with 87 victories. The IFAs are a round-robin tournament where the fencers for each weapon face only their direct counterparts. As has been the case most of the season, Penn's foilists were the star of the show. The squad's first-place finish was highlighted by senior Yaron Roth's 12-0 performance against every school's top foilist. Sophomore Yale Cohen and freshman Jim Benson earned 10-2 marks on the day. "We knew we have a strong foil team, and we were there to prove that," Roth said. In sweeping through the competition, Roth defeated two particularly formidable opponents -- the former No. 1 player in the country, John Tiompkin of St. John's, and the current No. 1, Columbia's Jed Dupree. "I think [Yaron] did a spectacular job for us, and I'm very proud and pleased," Micahnik said. The Penn epee squad also took first place on the day, winning 27 out of 36 bouts. The squad was led by Jim Benson's 10-2 first-place finish at the third position. Scott Eriksen also finished 10-2, good for second place at the second position. Senior captain Charles Hamann went 7-5, but was singled out for praise by his coach. "He kept the team together and kept it focused," Micahnik said of his captain. Penn's sabres only seventh, despite Jeffrey Lee's 8-4 mark as the second sabre. "It's been our situation all year long where the sabres are just not as strong as the other two," Micahnik said. "They made their contributions." Still, Penn looked at its competition against the best of the East this weekend as a positive. "We've proven ourselves to be among the top three teams in the country," Roth said.Comments powered by Disqus
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