Cornell Fencers Seize One Top-8 and Three Other Top-16 finishes at the 2011 Temple Open

11 Nov 2011
Posted by Mike Fotinatos

Mike Fotinatos's picture

The Big Red opened their season this weekend at the 33rd annual Temple Open in Philadelphia, PA. With nearly 100 fencers per event, Cornell fenced off against a number of strong Varsity programs such as Penn State, University of Pennsylvania, UNC Chapel Hill, Johns Hopkins and NYU. Making one of the best showings in recent years, Mike Fotinatos captured a top 8 finish while Zach Silversmith, Nick Heiner, and Harrison Fox finished in the top 16.

Starting bright and early, the epee team started strong with senior co-captain Bryan Mills, sophomore Harrison Fox, and senior Tim Gao all posting 3-1 records out of pools with positive indicators. Gao, who began fencing at Cornell as a freshman, defeated a C and two other fencers, a notable stride from his first event three years ago. Entering the second pool, Fox repeated his record of 3-1, winning two clutch 5-4 bouts. Mills secured two more victories and while Gao was unable to manage a win in his second pool, all fencers were promoted to the direct elimination round.

The foil squad began next and hit the ground running with seniors Mike Fotinatos and Nick Heiner going undefeated in their first pool, dropping only 3 and 6 touches respectively. Freshman Alex Cheng managed a solid 3-1 record, dropping only to Penn’s Zane Grodman. With all the foilists seeded well for the second pool, Heiner sailed through to finish with a perfect 8-0 record and a +28 indicator. Fotinatos, dropping one bout in his second pool, finished 7-1 also with a +28. Cheng repeated his 3-1 record here leaving him 6-2 and seeded approximately 20th/89 entering the direct elimination round.

Cornell’s saber fencers spent their morning preparing for later check-in, but their preparation paid off as junior Zach Silversmith pulled a perfect 8-0 record over the course of his two pools. Freshman Matt Laks and junior co-captain Ben Jaeger went 4-0 in their first pools, and sophomore Matt Joe went 2-2. Joe stepped up his game in the second round and was able to improve his record to 5-3, while Laks and Jaeger finished with respectable 7-1 records before DEs.

In the Epee eliminations, Mills and Fox received BYEs, while Gao battled for a top 64 position. Despite an initial lead, Gao lost a heartbreaking bout 15-14 to finish 65th overall. Fox cleanly dispatched his first opponent and then pulled out a close, 15-14 win against an old NYU teammate to reach the top 16. Mills was unable to secure a victory and finished 37th out of 100 competitors. Despite a hard fought bout, Fox was finally stopped in the round of 16 by Penn State’s Oliver Valdes by a 15-10 margin. He finished highest amongst the Cornell epeeists, 16th out of 100 competitors.

All three of the Big Red foilists received BYEs into the 64s and resoundingly defeated their first opponents, promoting them into the top 32. Alex Cheng was unfortunately pitted against the #2 seed Christian Vastola of NYU and was defeated 15-9, finishing 22nd overall. Heiner, drawing Drew’s Dillon Feigenbaum, struggled to gain an initial lead but hit his stride around 7-7 to pull away and secure a win. Moving to the top 16 seeded 8th, Nick was pitted against another #8 seed, Penn’s Zane Grodman. Unable to respond to Grodman’s quick actions, Nick was defeated and finished 12th out of 89 competitors. Continuing with his strong performance, Fotinatos swiftly defeated Johns Hopkin’s Zachary Goodman 15-5 to enter the top 16 and was set to fence the #4 seed, Phil Jamesson of NYU to reach the 8s. Quickly finding himself down 4-9, Fotinatos refocused and was able to rally 7 consecutive touches, bringing the score to 11-9. Able to pull a late rally, Jamesson brought the score back to 14-14, but Fotinatos stayed on the defensive and landed a quick remise to clinch the bout. Weary from his previous bout, Mike was finally defeated in the next round by NYU’s Andrew Ark and finished 8th overall.

All of Cornell’s saber fencers received BYEs in the top 64, and were able to defeat their first opponents to reach the top 32. This next round unfortunately meant a number of close losses for the Big Red, with Matt Joe falling to Hopkins’ Aravind Menon and Jaeger falling 15-14 to Swarthmore’s Kevin Buczkowski. Matt Laks was able to make an exciting four touch comeback against Steven’s Dima Lamianski, but fell just short on his last attack to give Lamianski a riposte and the final touch. Silversmith was seeded well from his excellent pool results and defeated a Florida fencer to sail easily into the top 16, but was deafeated by Drew newcomer Charles Dobbins. The final results for the saber squad were Silversmith – 10th, Laks – 20th, Jaeger - 21st, and Joe – 28th.

Philadelphia, PA


Website by Nick Heiner