Cornell fencers take the podium at home Epee event
Cornell hosted its first-ever USFA event this Saturday at Willard-Straight Hall, an epee tournament that drew 35 fencers from all over the Western NY area. Many members of the Cornell Men’s Fencing Team and Cornell Recreational Fencing Team participated, 5 of which were able to secure finishes in the top 8 or above. Among the undergraduate Men’s team fencers participating were Mike Fotinatos, Dave Smith, Bryan Mills, Nick Heiner, Benjamin Jaeger and Tim Gao. Other notable Cornell fencers in participation were Matt Herndon, Frank Castelli, Katherine Thompson and Sean Berthrong.
Matt Herndon posted the most impressive record for the Cornell fencers after the pool rounds, going undefeated with a record of 5-0. Similarly impressive, Frank Castelli featured a 4-1 record while Dave Smith emerged with 3-1. Berthrong and Fotinatos, also in the same pool, managed 4-1 and 3-2 scores. Mills, Heiner, and Thompson were all unfortunately placed in the same pool and proceeded to claw away at each other’s records, going 2-3, 3-2 and 3-2 respectively. Rounding off the Big Red were Jaeger, with a 1-3 record and Gao, who went 1-4.
Entering the direct elimination rounds, all fencers were able to qualify for the round of 32. Many of the Cornell fencers were able to secure finishes in the top 16, while Heiner, Thompson, Jaeger and Gao fell by the wayside. Despite having a low seed after the pools, Captain Bryan Mills was able to pull off a stunning 15-10 upset against a C-rated fencer, positioning him favorably for his next bout. Despite some tough losses, it should be noted that this was Nick Heiner’s first epee competition ever, and was roughly the third time that Ben Jaeger has ever fenced with a point weapon. Matt Herndon breezed through his next DE by a 15-1 margin, while Berthrong and Smith advanced by much closer bouts of 15-10 and 15-12. Bryan Mills was able to capitalize on his prior upset, defeating his opponent to reach the top 8, earning his D-rating. Fotinatos and Castelli were forced to face off for the top 8 position, with Fotinatos prevailing by a score of 15-11. In a competitive quarterfinal round, Herndon, Berthrong, Fotinatos, Mills and Smith all battled for elusive top 4 positions. Despite hard-fought bouts, Berthrong fell to Les Amis’ Bryan Thompson, while Mills’ run was ended by A-rated Jack Greenfield of Empire United. Fotinatos managed to secure another victory, while Herndon and Smith fenced off for the last spot in the semi-finals. Herndon emerged victorious in an extremely close match, 15-13. The top four featured two excellent bouts. Herndon and Bryan Thompson battled touch for touch the entire bout, but Herndon held strong, securing a dramatic 15-14 win. The bout between Fotinatos and Greenfield was close as well, until Greenfield managed to get an 11-10 edge with 30 seconds remaining in the bout. Fotinatos attempted to force touches under the pressure of the clock, but was ultimately defeated 15-10. He earned a C2011 for his efforts. The final bout took place between Greenfield and Cornell’s last remaining representative, Matt Herndon. Fighting hard, Herndon managed to post 11 touches but was ultimately defeated, securing a silver medal. Cornell looks forward to hosting future tournaments. Thanks all fencers who took the time to participate!