Women’s Fencing Wins Ivies Outright, Men Share Crown

a fencing match

Columbia fencing has won 50 Ivy League team championships, more than any other school.


Columbia fencing added a chapter to its storied history as the women’s team posted a perfect 6–0 record at the Ivy League Championships in Princeton, N.J., February 10–11 to win the league title outright, and the men went 4–1 to share the crown with Harvard and Penn. In addition, Sylvie Binder ’21 — the top-ranked foil fencer in the country under the age of 20 — won an individual championship with a 13–1 record in the two-day event. The Lions have won 50 Ivy League team titles in program history. The men have won or shared the championship in each of the past five seasons and 39 times overall, the first in 1956. The women have finished atop the Ivies in three of the last four campaigns — they were second to Princeton a year ago — and have won 11 titles, the first in 1989.

Twelve Columbia fencers earned All-Ivy honors off their performance at the championships. Among the women, Binder was joined by Iman Blow ’19 (foil) and Violet Michel ’20 (sabre) on the All-Ivy first team, while Katie Angen BC’18 (épée), Lena Johnson BC’18 (sabre), Ester Schreiber BC’20 (foil) and Giana Vierheller SEAS’20 (épée) made second team. On the men’s side, Sidarth Kumbla ’21 (foil) and Nolen Scruggs ’19 (foil) were named to the first team and Calvin Liang ’19 (sabre), Gabe Canaux ’18 (épée) and Porter Hesslegrave ’18 (épée) made second team.

Columbia’s women opened the round-robin Ivy League Championships by trouncing Cornell 24–3 and never looked back, posting a composite match score of 126–36 in sweeping their six rivals. The Lions opened the second day of the event against previously undefeated Harvard and registered a 19–8 victory, with the foil team of Binder, Blow, Schreiber and Quinn Crum ’19 posting a perfect 9–0 mark. Columbia then wrapped up the title by easily beating Yale 21–6 and Penn 20–7.

In the men’s competition, Columbia beat Princeton and Brown on opening day but dropped a 16–11 decision to Harvard to begin the second day of matches. But the Lions bounced back to beat Yale 20–7 and then defeated previously unbeaten Penn 15–12 to gain a share of the championship.

Columbia also participated in the NCAA Northeast Regionals in Waltham, Mass., on March 11, followed by the NCAA Championships in University Park, Pa., March 22–25.