Photo by Mark Strumwasser
GLENDORA, Calif. (Feb. 28, 2016) – Freshman Qifan Wang (Vancouver, B.C., Canada / Semiahmoo Secondary) won the silver medal and freshman Alex White (Dallas, Texas / North Hills) qualified for the 2016 USA Fencing National Championships at the Stro Division 1A Regional Open Circuit this past weekend.
Wang led a group of six Caltech fencers with his runner-up finish in épeé. White broke through to place 10th while sophomores Spencer Strumwasser (Carlsbad, Calif. / Canyon Crest Acad.) and Ethan Lo (Palo Alto, Calif. / Palo Alto Senior) finished 40th and 43rd in an incredibly deep and competitive field. Junior Matthew Jin (Fremont, Calif. / Mission San Jose) and freshman Julius Oppenheim (Montebello, N.Y. / Hackley School) also competed in foil and the Junior Saber class, respectively.
Wang was perfect in pool play to earn the #3 seed and breezed through direct elimination right to the semifinals, where he pulled out a nail-biting 15-14 victory over the #10 seed. The rookie then gave the top seed, a former team captain at Penn State, all he could in another thrilling bout but came up just short, 15-12.
White also blew through pool play, taking just one loss and coming within just one touch of an unblemished record. Still awarded the #8 seed and a first-round bye, he escaped the Table of 32 with a tight 15-14 win but could not repeat the feat in the next round as he succumbed by the same score. Having qualified for nationals in both Division 1A and Division II, he will have the opportunity to compete against the top fencers in the country later this summer in his hometown of Dallas.
Strumwasser and Lo each won a pair of bouts in pool play, with Strumwasser unfortunate to be on the short end of another two 5-4 defeats which dropped him from a top-20 seed to #35, where he crashed out in the first round, 15-13, along with Lo. Jin took two 5-4 losses in foil as well, but managed a victory in the first round of direct elimination before going down against the top seed.
Head Coach Carla Corbit and the Beavers will await final word on individual qualification for the NCAA West Regional set for Saturday, Mar. 5 at the U.S. Air Force Academy. The official announcement will come Wednesday or Thursday.