COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Columbia fencing program headed west with one purpose: bring the NCAA Fencing National Championship back to Morningside Heights. After the first day of competition at the French Field House, the Lions did not disappoint. Columbia sits in first place with 56 combined victories after three rounds in each men’s weapon.
Behind the Lions’ 56 wins there is a tight race for a national title with Ohio State and Penn State with 55 victories each. The Buckeyes scoring indicator of 94 outweighs that of the Nittany Lions’ to hold second. St. John’s (45) and Penn (43) round out the top five.
In the men’s epee both Columbia fencers remain in the individual national title mix with Jake Hoyle leading the pack of 24 competitors. Hoyle, a junior, holds one victory over second through fourth place with a 12-3 mark to sit atop his competition. In sixth place is the Lions’ junior Brian Ro, who earned a 10-5 record.
Geoffrey Loss and Will Spear rounded out Columbia on the first day in the men’s sabre. Both senior Lions are 8-15, however Loss is tied for ninth with Princeton’s Peter Pak thanks to a plus-14 edge. Spear on the other hand is in 14th due to a minus-6 indicator.
The Buckeyes, meanwhile, are in second place after completing rounds 1-3 of men's competition.
Men's foil started strong with freshman Maximilian Chastanet claiming five wins for third place in the first round. Chastanet held on to the No. 3 spot through the second round then finished the third round in fifth place, with 10 wins out of 15 bouts and a plus-24 indicator for the day. Teammate Stanislov Sudilovsky finished the day in seventh place with a 10-5 record and plus-17 indicator.
Lewis Weiss claimed second place after the first round of men's epee, dropping only one bout to teammate Marc-Antoine Blais Belanger, who ended the first round in 14th. Weiss ended the third round in third with 11 wins and a plus-22 indicator, just behind Brown's Simon Jones (11 wins with a plus-23 indicator). Belanger ended in 13th with a 7-8 record.
For men's sabre, freshman Frederick Koch finished in the No. 7 spot with nine wins and a plus-12 indicator. Sophomore Fares Arfa was right behind him in the eighth spot with eight wins and a plus-17 indicator.
Rounds four and five of men's competition will take place Friday at 9:30 a.m. in French Field House. Semifinal and championship bouts will begin at 1:30 p.m. in St. John Arena.