Fencing Wins Ivies Again

Columbia fencing retained its position atop the Ivy League in 2016, but this time in a pair of threeway ties after the two-day Ivy League Round-Robins at Cornell February 6–7. The men’s team earned its third consecutive title by finishing tied with Penn and Princeton at 4–1, while the women won their second straight crown, sharing it with Harvard and Princeton at 5–1.

Jackie Dubrovich ’16 won all 18 of her matches to dominate the foil competition at the Ivy League Championship.

Jackie Dubrovich ’16 won all 18 of her matches to dominate the foil competition at the Ivy League Championship.


It was the 37th time Columbia has either won or shared the men’s Ivy League championship and the 10th time it has won or shared the women’s crown.

“It just shows the depth and strength of fencing in the Ivy League,” head coach Michael Aufrichtig told Spectator of the fact that three teams shared both Ivy titles. “It’s really no surprise. There are so many strong teams and strong fencers, it’s so close now.

“What I told the team today was, ‘Winners win. And we’re winners.’ And they didn’t forget that.”

The Lions will try to defend their NCAA Championship at Brandeis March 24–27, after taking part in the NCAA Regionals at Vassar on March 13. Columbia won its 14th NCAA title a year ago, its first under Aufrichtig.

Eight Columbia fencers earned 2016 All- Ivy honors, with Calvin Liang ’19, Michael Costin ’17, Jackie Dubrovich ’16 and Sara Taffel BC’17 making the First Team and Geoffrey Loss ’16, Nolen Scruggs ’19, Jake Hoyle ’16 and Ilana Solomon ’19 earning spots on the Second Team.

The men’s team beat Princeton 15–12 and Yale 18–9 but lost to Penn 15–12 on Day One, then defeated Harvard 16–11 and Brown 21–6 on Day Two. The sabre team led the way with Liang (10–2), Costin (10–4) and Loss (9–4) finishing second, third and fourth behind Penn’s Shaul Gordon ’16 (14–1).

The women beat Cornell 21–6, Penn 18–9 and Yale 21–6 but dropped a 17–10 decision to Princeton on Day One. On Day Two, the Lions defeated Harvard 19–8 and Brown 21–6 to gain their share of the title. The foil team dominated the opposition, with Dubrovich posting an undefeated 18–0 record and Taffel going 14–1.

Dubrovich in action.

Dubrovich in action.


“Jackie was fantastic,” Aufrichtig said of Dubrovich’s weekend performance. “The crazy thing with our foil team is generally whoever we put in, we know that they’re going to be able to do well.”

Ten days later, Scruggs was crowned the Junior Olympic Champion in men’s foil and Porter Hesslegrave ’18 took home the silver medal in men’s epee on February 17 in Cleveland. Scruggs won gold with a dominating 15–2 performance over William Upbin in the championship bout, posting a touch differential of +28 over his final three bouts. Hesslegrave lost a 15–12 decision to Jack Bradford in the epee championship bout.

And Jeff Spear ’10, the 2008 NCAA champion in sabre, helped lead the U.S. men’s team to a No. 1 world ranking for the first time since 2004 February 20–21 after winning its second World Cup title at the Warsaw World Cup.