PASADENA, Calif. (Jan. 15, 2017) – The Caltech men's fencing team rode a typical strong showing from the épée weapon squad in its first NCAA competition of the season as the Beavers hosted the West Invitational on Sunday.
The épée team posted a 3-3 record on the day, losing two matchups by a single bout. Sophomore Qifan Wang (Vancouver, B.C., Canada / Semiahmoo Secondary) essentially already guaranteed himself a spot in the NCAA West Regional with better than a 50 percent win ratio, while fellow 2016 participants, classmate Alex White (Dallas, Texas / North Hills) and junior Ethan Lo (Palo Alto, Calif. / Palo Alto Senior), got off to solid starts as they look to return as well.
The day began with a 5-22 defeat to UCSD in which Wang earned two victories, while Lo picked up one and came up a touch short of another. Senior Matthew Jin (Fremont, Calif. / Mission San Jose), who rejoined the team after the fall term, took both wins in foil to kick off a performance that has also put him in good position for West Regional qualification.
Decisive defeats to a pair of Division I foes in Air Force Academy (6-21) and Stanford University (4-23) followed, with épée going coming up just short at 4-5 in each. Wang and senior Spencer Strumwasser (Carlsbad, Calif. / Canyon Crest Acad.), having returned from studying abroad in the fall, claimed three victories across their six respective bouts, while the Beavers got the short end of another three 4-5 bout scores.
The high-water mark of the day came with the first matchup of the afternoon as Caltech posted a 20-7 victory over new DI program University of the Incarnate Word. All three weapons edged out their opponents, helped along by UIW's shortage of fencers (one each in saber and épée, two in foil).
Caltech carried that momentum into its final two matchups of the day, a 7-20 defeat to Brandeis University and an 8-19 loss at the hands of the University of Florida. Against the Judges of Brandeis, the épée group found itself in a 2-0 hole from the outset, but rattled off five straight wins to take the matchup, capped by Wang joining Strumwasser and Lo with two victories apiece.
The day concluded with a pair of tight battles against Florida as épée claimed a narrow 5-4 win while foil fell just short at 3-6. Several individuals turned in some of their best performances of the meet in the finale; White came up with a sweep in épée, while Wang and Jin each won twice, with Jin a single touch from a sweep of his own.
Head Coach Carla Corbit and the Beavers next take part in the highly regarded Northwestern Duals on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 4-5 in Evanston, Ill.