Ivy League Champs
April 28, 2003
For the third time in five years the Penn men's fencing team is the pride of the Ivy League, as the Red and Blue earned a tie of the 2003 Ancient Eight banner (with Columbia) after posting a 3-1 Ivy League record. The Quakers also finished the season ranked sixth by the United States Fencing Coaches Association (USFCA) and scored victories over No. 7 Princeton, No. 9 Rutgers and No. 10 Harvard en route to a 13-3 overall finish. The Red and Blue's only defeats came at the hands of higher-ranked foes.
At the NCAA Championships, Penn finished 10th overall and combined for 11th with the women. At the IFAs, the Red and Blue finished fifth overall and combined with the women's team for a fourth-place finish.
Two-thousand and three saw contributions from the usual players as junior foil Andrew Radu led the team with 32 victories. Senior weaponmate Yale Cohen also topped 30 wins. While Radu and Cohen were the Quakers' old reliable, the lineup also received an infusion of youth as freshman epee Michael Sanders won 31 bouts and freshman sabre Mark Kindrachuk posted a 30-win season.
In addition to the new blood, the men's lineup produced three more 20-win fencers - sophomore epee ChungXing Mah (25), freshman sabre William Caulin (21) and junior foil Jeff Breen (20).
Postseason Play and Honors
Cohen earned a second-team All-America berth from the USFCA after placing sixth overall at the NCAA Championships. He posted a 16-7 mark at the championships and just missed reaching the medal round.
Weaponmate Radu represented the Quakers on the All-Ivy team, earning his second-straight first-team berth, as well as earning the Red and Blue's 2003 Award for Excellence. Radu won 10-of-12 Ivy bouts this past season. He also joined Cohen at the NCAAs, placing 14th overall.
Kindrachuk capped off a strong rookie campaign by earning second-team All-Ivy honors. His six Ivy victories helped the Quakers to their 15th League banner.
Sanders was the third member of Penn's NCAA contingent, as the freshman placed 16th with nine victories.
Freshman Jeff Jorge was named the Quakers' Most Improved Fencer after switching weapons midway through the season. Jorge compiled an overall record of 6-3, beginning the season 2-0 at foil before moving to sabre, where he won his first four duels, and also recorded four victories at the IFA's.
Pacing the Attack
The men's foil squad was once again the Red and Blue's top weapon, as the team boasted two 30-win fencers, followed by a 20-bout and a 19-bout winners. In addition, the Quakers placed third at the IFA's. Radu and Cohen set the tone, and were followed by junior Jeff Breen, who finished 2003 with a mark of 20-10. Sophomore Stephen Gavalas saw his fair share of action, recording a career-high 19 victories.
Freshman Jonathan Press turned in a strong rookie debut, rolling up a record of 7-2 in limited action.
Entering the season, the men's epee team was the least-experienced weapon. However, senior Dan Borden, sophomore ChungXing Mah and freshman Michael Sanders combined for 54 victories and played a pivotal role as Penn captured the Ivy League flag. The epee lineup also turned in a sixth-place finish at IFAs.
Sanders was the gem of the unit, recording a 31-13 mark in his rookie season. He finished 11th at the NCAA Championships and fourth at Regionals. Borden's 18 wins were a career-high, as the veteran of the lineup also posted an 18th-place showing at the Mid-Atlantic/South Regional championships. Mah turned in a breakout campaign, rolling to a mark of 25-19 and a fifth-place finish at Regionals.
In addition, freshman Ari Paul started the season 7-0 in epee bouts before finishing with eight victories.
Learning on the Go
The men's sabre team started two freshmen during the 2003 campaign. If Head Coach Dave Micahnik was concerned of the lack of experience his epee team possessed, he must have been really concerned about his sabre lineup. Any concern he had would have ended up being unwarranted as Mark Kindrachuk and William Caulin combined for 51 victories. The two rookies turned in stellar debuts in helping Penn to another Ivy League championship and a sixth-place finish at IFA's.
Kindrachuk was one of the team's four 30-bout winners, and led the sabre team with a mark of 30-15. He was 6-6 in Ivy League action and placed 23rd at Regionals. Meanwhile, Caulin won 21 duels and placed 12th at Regionals.
In addition to the Red and Blue's Most Improved Fencer Jeff Jorge, who went 4-3, junior Christopher Lvoff recorded 14 wins and senior Jit Fong Oon once again provided the Red and Blue lineup with depth and the willingness to compete whenever called upon.
The men's and women's 2003 rosters voted on their selections for team captains at the Red and Blue's annual postseason banquet. Getting the nod to represent the Quakers in 2004 were juniors Stephen Gavalas and Emmanuelle Humblet.
In the House
"Dedication and consistent hard work made it possible for this year's teams to achieve what they did," Micahnik said. "I'm proud of the character displayed by our fencers. I'm especially proud of the rapid development of our youngest members and those who were willing to switch weapons because that's what the team needed.
"We'll miss our graduates, to be sure, but the core of next year's team is 'in the house. Next season promises to be outstanding."
Download: cumulative-stats MFencing.pdf