Cornell fencers secure 5th place finish and two top-16 finishes at 34th Annual Temple Open

29 Oct 2012
Posted by Matthew Laks

Matthew Laks's picture

Big Red Fencing opened up their season at the 34th annual Temple Open in Philadelphia, PA. Cornell fenced off against a number of top tier varsity programs including Penn State, UNC Chapel Hill, Johns Hopkins, University of Pennsylvania and NYU. With Hurricane Sandy on the horizon, a number of teams had to leave during the tournament, causing some shifts in seeding and direct elimination determinations. Such a superstorm was no obstacle however for the Big Red. Sophomore Matthew Laks captured a fifth place finish in Sabre, one of the best showings in team history. The Big Red also secured two more top-16 finishes. Senior Ben Jaeger fenced exceptionally well finishing in 12th place and Junior Harrison Fox finished in 16th place for his second top-16 finish at the tournament in as many years.
Waking up nice and early, the Epees, consisting of Junior Harrison Fox, and newcomers Mike Perazza (Sophomore) and Jonathan Lowry (Freshman), were intent on starting off their season with a bang. Mike Perazza, a walk-on rower who joined the team this year, participated in his first ever tournament. Although he did not finish on the podium, the team expects Mike to continue to develop as a fencer and to serve as an adequate alternate for the Epee squad. Freshman Jonathan Lowry finished in 29th place, losing a well fought, nail-biter bout against Penn State fencer and eventual 3rd place finisher, Yasser Mahmoud. The Big Red is excited to have Lowry fencing on the Epee squad and expects continued success throughout the rest of the season. Junior Harrison Fox finished in 16th place, looking to continue his success into the rest of the season. This is Harrison’s second top-16 finish at the tournament, a feat that very few have been able to accomplish throughout the tournament’s history. The A-strip Epeeist Fox looks forward to leading the Big Red Epee squad, made up of Fox, Lowry, Kirsch, Qiao and Perazza to continued success throughout the season.

The next fencers to wake up at the Kamish residences were the foilists, consisting of freshmen newcomers Dalton Kamish and Austin Chien. The foilists finished in 28th and 29th place respectively, an excellent finish for these young fencers’ first collegiate tournament. Kamish and Chien will join junior Matt Joe and sophomore Alex Cheng to form the foil squad this year. The squad is expecting great success from their newcomers after losing graduating seniors Michael Fotinatos and Nick Heiner last year.

The late bloomers, the sabreists, were the last to wake up for the 34th Annual Temple Open. Seniors Zach Silversmith and Ben Jaeger, junior Matt Joe and sophomore Matthew Laks all suited up for their first collegiate tune-up of the season. All of the sabre fencers did extremely well in pools, leading to favorable seeding leading into DE’s. All of the Cornell sabre fencers received BYEs in the top 64. Working to get into the top 32, junior Matt Joe lost a very close bout to Johns Hopkins fencer, Justin Oh. The other Cornell saber fencers were able to fight their way in to the top-32. The next task at hand for the Cornell sabreists was to get into the top 16. Sophomore Matthew Laks was pitted up against University of Pennsylvania fencer Rob Mitrani, senior Zach Silversmith faced Carnegie Mellon’s Stowe Hammarberg and senior Ben Jaeger faced Stevens Institute of Technology fencer Daniel Cleary. Laks and Jaeger were victorious in their bouts, securing a top 16 finish. Silversmith lost 15-14 in an edge-of-your-seat bout after  Hammarberg stopped the bout on more than one occasion after missing an attack on Silversmith. As the tournament was winding down, and teams were rushing home to avoid the storm, Jaeger faced Penn State fencer Michael Brand in a bout to get into top-8s. Unfortunately Jaeger fell to this sharpened Penn State fencer in another close bout. Matthew Laks faced University of Florida’s Bill Bird to get into the 8s and defeated the Floridian handily with a score of 15-5. Trying to get into the semi-finals, Laks was penciled in against Penn State fencer Sean Moran. Unfortunately, Laks was unable to defeat the eventual 2nd place finisher Moran in a close bout, but secured a 5th place finish in the tournament nonetheless due to his high seed following pools.  
The Big Red look forward to seeing even more success on November 18th as the Red travel to Lafayette University in Easton, Pennsylvania for MACFA A vs. B, where the Red will be taking on Lafayette, Stevens, Yeshiva, Hunter, Army in what is sure to be an exciting day.

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