Gardner Individual Epee Champ, Sabre Wins Squad Championship at MACFA

Sabre (left) won the squad championship while Eric Gardner (right) won his second individual gold medal in epee
Sabre (left) won the squad championship while Eric Gardner (right) won his second individual gold medal in epee

BALTIMORE, Md. – Eric Gardner repeated his 2014 honor as a MACFA gold medalist in epee and the Fords' sabre won its first squad championship in that weapon since the 2005 season to highlight a very successful Sunday at the MACFA Championships. As a team, Haverford placed third overall to earn its highlight placement since the 2014 season.

Haverford's sabre won the squad championship with a combined 36-6 record among its three fencers. David Parker tallied the best record in that weapon with a 13-1 record in the "C" pool. Parker's only defeat of pool play came on a five-touch bout that was tied at four-all. Gabriel Braun was 12-2 in the "B" pool, while John Hare was 11-3 against the "A" fencers. All three of Haverford's sabrists advanced to the individual championship.

The Fords' 31 total victories in epee tied NJIT for second with 31 bout victories, but Haverford was awarded third place based on a 62-59 advantage for NJIT in indicators. Fencing the "C" pool, Kadan Lottick went a perfect 13-0. Eric Gardner ("A" pool) and Jake Bassinder ("B" pool) each posted 9-5 records in the team competition. Gardner and Lottick were both promoted to the individual championships while Bassinder just missed the cut.

Haverford's foil placed fourth as a squad with Yan Yan Xie posting a perfect 8-0 record in his bouts after Ching Li started the day 3-3 against the "B" pool. Russell Rivera led the foilists with 10 wins against just three losses while Jack Leighinger went 9-5 against the "A" pool fencers. Both Leighninger and Rivera were promoted to the individual championships.

The individual portion of the championship was highlighted by Gardner's championship run to earn the second MACFA gold medal of his career. Gardner entered the draw as the No. 10 seed with the sixth best record among "A" fencers. He topped Ryan Hrapsky of NJIT who finished third in the "B" pool in the first direct elimination bout and advanced to the semifinals with a win against Matthias Phillppine of Johns Hopkins who was runner-up in the "C" pool. Gardner then won his championship with back-to-back victories against Tiger Gao (third place in pool "A") and Jimmy Ferraiolo of Hunter (eighth place in pool "A").

Gardner's individual championship marks the fifth time Haverford has claimed a conference epee champion under head coach Chris Spencer. However, he is just the second two-time MACFA champion for the Fords and the first to do so in epee in program history. Chris Flanders '07 previously won back-to-back sabre championships during the 2005 and 2006 seasons. Lottick started his individual draw strong with his 14th straight win of the day against Andrew Ridhorodecky of Drew out of the "A" pool before falling to Gardner's final opponent, Ezcurra.

Haverford's strong showing in sabre during pool competition carried right into the individual draw as John Hare finished as the runner-up to Benjamin Sanits of Hunter who emerged from the "B" draw. To get to the championship match, Hare defeated the runner-up for the "C" pool, the third-place finisher in the "B" pool, and the third-place finisher behind him in the "A" pool for the second time. Gabriel Braun also advanced to the quarterfinals with a win over Patrick Rose of Johns Hopkins from the "A" pool before falling to Hare's semifinal opponent. Jack Leighinger also won a won a match in the foil draw, but was defeated by second-seeded Adam Katwan of Johns Hopkins in the quarterfinal round.

Men's fencing will now take its qualified individuals to compete at the NCAA Regional Championship this Saturday, March 11 at Lafayette. Fencing for qualification into the NCAA Championship will begin at 9 a.m.