Men's Fencing Finishes Third at IFA Championships

PHILADELPHIA – Penn had a good all around performance at the IFA’s this year, bolstered by several strong individual performances. The men’s three-weapon team finished in third place, with 54 wins behind Harvard and men’s champion, Columbia. Penn’s six-weapon team also came in third, behind Columbia and the overall champions, Harvard.

In the individual weapons, the sabre team was Penn’s top finisher. The squad of sophomore Matthew Kolasa, freshman Andrew Bielen and senior Dave Dipaola came in second in their weapon with 23 victories, just one win behind Harvard’s team. Kolasa finished second in the men’s Sabre A Division, with eight wins, while freshman Andrew Bielen finished first in the B Division with eight wins of his own.

The men’s foil team offered Penn their highest finish last year, as junior Ron Berkowsky, senior Michael Galligan and junior Corey Purcell took home the Iron Man trophy with their first place finish. But the defending champions couldn’t repeat last year’s triumph, and finish fourth in their weapon, with 17 total wins. Berkowsky finished second in the A division with eight wins, while Galligan finished fifth in the B division, with five wins.

The Red and Blue’s epee squad came in sixth with 14 wins in the team competition. Sophomore Ben Wieder was the top epee fencer in the team competition, as he placed third in the Men’s Epee A Division, with six wins for the team.

The Quakers had some stronger showings in the individual championships. Sophomore Matthew Kolasa was the top finisher for the men’s team, as he took the silver medal in the individual championship for sabre. In the first round, he fenced Alex Rudnicki of Columbia and won, 15-11. Up next, he took on Dan Sachs from Harvard, and won 15-9. In the semifinals, he beat Malcom Conley from Boston College, 15-11. And in the finals, he lost to Harvard’s Tim Hagaman, 15-10, to finish second overall. Freshman Andrew Bielen came in seventh overall, after winning his first round bout 15-9, over Brad Broadhead of Yale. In the quarterfinals, he lost to Hagamen, the eventual champion, 15-10.

Senior Michael Galligan was the top finisher for Penn’s foil squad. He beat Jason Chen from MIT 15-10 to advance to the quarterfinals, where he faced Andrew Holbrook from Yale. He won that match 15-12, and advanced to the semis. There he lost to Scott Sugimoto from Columbia, 15-4. In the bronze medal match, he lost to Enoch Woodhouse from Harvard, 15-12, and finished in fourth place overall. Junior Ron Berkowsky finished fifth overall, after winning the individual gold medal at last year’s meet. In the first round, he shut out Long Ouyang from Harvard, 15-0. But in the quarterfinal round, he lost to Woodhouse, 15-13, and was eliminated.

Penn’s only qualifier in the epee was sophomore Benjamin Wieder, who lost to Andrew Sofer from Brandies, 13-12, in the first round. He finished ninth overall.

Several members of the men’s fencing team will get a chance to improve their individual results next weekend, as they travel to the NCAA Championships in Madison, N.J. on March 22.

Individual Results
Team Results