PASADENA, Calif. (Jan. 13, 2017) – After a season that included three NCAA wins and a second-place finish in the IFCSC, Caltech men's fencing is ready to challenge for its first conference title behind a young core made up of multiple NCAA Championships hopefuls.
With key contributions in two of those three NCAA wins and another four weapn victories against the likes of Air Force and the University of North Carolina, the épée squad paced Caltech throughout last season and looks to do so again thanks to the return of its trio of stalwarts. Rookie sensation Qifan Wang (Vancouver, B.C., Canada / Semiahmoo Secondary) was one of four Beavers to qualify for the NCAA West Regional in the weapon and came out on top of the group at the IFCSC Championships, earning the gold medal. The top point earned as a cadet in Canada prior to his arrival on campus, he also picked up a silver in a Division I A Regional Open Circuit competition in late February while defeating a whopping 18 USFA B-rated or better fencers (NCAA power rating equivalent of 60. He has already picked up where he left off, matching his 2015-16 finish of 11th place at the elite BladeRunner ROC in November.
Junior Ethan Lo (Palo Alto, Calif. / Palo Alto Senior) and sophomore Alex White (Dallas, Texas / North Hills) provided a potent 2-3 punch behind Wang and will reprise those roles in 2017. Both qualified for the West Regional, with Lo earning a silver medal behind Wang in the IFCSC while White more than lived up to his 'C'-rated billing in his rookie season, beating five A-rated/80 power ranking fencers. Junior Spencer Strumwasser (Carlsbad, Calif. / Canyon Crest Acad.), another West Regional qualifier, is set to rejoin the team after studying abroad during the fall term, as is senior Jonathan Stauffer (Elkton, Md. / Rising Sun) after a one-year hiatus.
Sophomore Julius Oppenheim (Montebello, N.Y. / Hackley School) was the team's lone West Regional qualifier in saber after converting from épée. He will team with senior Kai Chang (Haverford, Pa. / Harriton), who fronted the team as a sophomore, and sophomore Aaron Shih (Santa Monica, Calif. / Harvard-Westlake). Senior Keegan Mendonca (San Jose, Calif. / Lynbrook) is the lone returner in foil, but with seven newcomers joining the team, surely will not be on his own for long.
Head Coach Carla Corbit and the Beavers open NCAA competition on Sunday, Jan. 15 as they host the West Invitational from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.