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Harvard Crimson Take 2024 NCAA Fencing National Championship!

03/24/2024, 4:15pm CDT
By Nicole Kirk

For only the second time in program history, the NCAA Fencing National Championship will go to Cambridge, Mass.

COLUMBUS, Ohio -  Harvard has officially turned the collegiate fencing world crimson. On Sunday, Harvard claimed the 2024 NCAA Fencing National Championship for just the second time in program history. They edged out Notre Dame, which had won the past three national titles, with a score of 169 wins to 161. Columbia/Barnard finished third with 149 wins.

Head Coach Daria Schneider says “it was very special” to clinch the national title. 

“The most special moment was when we qualified 12 people,” she says. “That was really the moment where we were like ‘we could actually win,’ and that was just a really beautiful moment with the team.”

The tournament’s format has the women go first, competing over two days in all three weapons. Harvard’s women gave the Crimson a solid lead that they didn’t squander.

“The women started us off strong,” Schneider says, “and put us in such a good position.”

The belief only grew from there once the men took the strips.

“When our men’s epeeists came out so strong on day one, that was also a moment where we were like OK, we can really do this,’” Schneider says. “When we actually clinched it was kind of chaotic, so many things were happening, but I just had faith that our fencers were fencing so well at that point and because we were ahead, as long as we keep winning, we are going to do this. That was the spirit we all had.”

Individual championships were on the line, too, and in a sign of how wide and deep the talent pool is in collegiate fencing, these titles were won by fencers from five different schools: Harvard (2), Brandeis, Notre Dame, University of Pennsylvania and Princeton.

Scoring in the team event at the NCAA championships works like this: 24 fencers per weapon face off in a massive round-robin where everyone fences everyone in a series of 5-touch bouts. That’s 23 bouts per person spread over two grueling days.

Each victory in these 5-touch bouts earns a point for your school in the overall standings. Since each school can have a maximum of two fencers per gender and weapon, the most points a school can receive for one weapon is 46 (23 victories in 23 bouts, times two).

(The semifinals and finals bouts to determine individual NCAA champions do not count toward team point standings.)

Harvard earned 169 points, beating second-place Notre Dame (161) and third-place Columbia/Barnard (149). Their success was spread across all six weapons, but their strongest was Men’s Epee, where Harvard earned 33 points from the duo of Henry Lawson and Mihir Kumashi. That score of 33 means the pair combined to win a remarkable 33 of their 46 bouts.

Emily Vermeule raising her National Championship trophy. (Photo by Paul Vernon)

Women’s Epee: Emily Vermuele, Harvard

The Women's Epee final showcased a battle between Emily Vermeule of Harvard and Tierna Oxenreider of Columbia/Barnard. Vermuele emerged victorious, defeating Oxenreider by a score of 15-10, clinching the gold medal and NCAA title for Harvard. 

The bronze medals were awarded to Ketki Ketkar of Cornell and Nicole Feygin of St. John’s. Rounding out the top eight were Montserrat Viveros of Ohio State, Isabella Chin of Harvard, Ariana Rausch of Princeton and Mina Yamanaka of Columbia/Barnard.

"Oh, it's super exciting to win the individual title. Ultimately myself and I think all my teammates are here for the team competition. So the individual was just a nice bonus after on top of that, but I realized after the pool rounds heading into my semi final how much I really wanted it so it felt good to do it for my family at home and for my Harvard fencing family."

Jessica Guo celebrates her National Championship title by raising her trophy. (Photo by Paul Vernon)

Women’s Foil: Jessica Guo, Harvard

The Women's Foil final featured a captivating duel between teammates Lauren Scruggs of Harvard and Jessica Guo. Guo came out on top, defeating Scruggs by a score of 15-7 and securing the gold medal and NCAA title for Harvard.

Bronze medals were awarded to Rebeca Candescu of Notre Dame and Dariia Myroniuk of Ohio State. Completing the top eight were Evelyn Cheng of Columbia/Barnard, Crystal Qian of Stanford, Kristina Petrova of Yale, and Christina Ferrari of Duke.

"It's definitely really great to win the individual title and I think that most of it, I have to thank my teammates for supporting me throughout the whole day because there was moments where I was like, kind of feeling down. Like if just hearing them cheer for me was like really helpful and it like kept me going." 

Harvard Head Coach Daria Schneider and Assistant Coach Dagmara Wozniak and teammates Lauren Scruggs, Jessica Guo, Emily Vermeule and Isabella Chin pose after winning women's foil and epee. (Photo by Paul Vernon)

Maggie Shealy, Emily Vermeule, and Jessica Guo all raise their trophies in celebration. (Photo by Paul Vernon)

Women’s Saber: Maggie Shealy, Brandeis

The Women's Saber final saw an intense match between Maggie Shealy of Brandeis and Julia Cieslar from St. John’s. Shealy emerged victorious, defeating Cieslar by a score of 15-10, claiming the gold medal and NCAA title for Brandeis. Shealy also became the second woman at the Division III level to claim a national title. The last Division III fencer to win the title was in 2000.

Bronze medals were awarded to Ryan Jenkins of Princeton and Vera Kong from Columbia/Barnard. The top eight also included Atara Greenbaum of Notre Dame, Tamar Gordon of Columbia/Barnard, Alexandra Lee of Princeton, and Sydney Hirsch of Yale.

Tristan Szapary raising his National Championship trophy.

Men's Epee: Tristan Szapary, Princeton

The Men's Epee final pitted Tristan Szapary of Princeton against Jonathan Hamilton-Meikle of Notre Dame. Szapary ultimately bested Hamilton-Meikle by a score of 15-14, securing the gold medal and NCAA title for Princeton.

The bronze medals were awarded to Henry Lawson of Harvard and Allen Marakov from Duke. The rest of the top eight included Justin Haddad of Columbia, Mihir Kumashi of Harvard, Paul Veltrup of Ohio State, and Paul Fortin of St. John’s.

"It hasn't fully hit yet, but all I want to say is thank you to my coach, thank you to the Princeton fencing team, they mean the world to me, and I love them all, and I couldn't have done this with out them." 

Bryce Louie raising his trophy in celebration of winning the Men's Foil National title.

Men’s Foil: Bryce Louie, Pennsylvania

The Men's Foil final matched teammates Bryce Louie and Blake Broszus of Pennsylvania against each other. Louie  defeated teammate Broszus by a score of 15-9, clinching the gold medal and NCAA championship for St. John's.

Bronze medals were awarded to Daniel Zhang of Harvard and Sam Kumbla of Columbia The top eight competitors also included Zach Binder of Columbia, Marcello Olivares of Notre Dame, Edriss Ndiaye of Ohio State, and Ziyuan Chen of Notre Dame.

"It's crazy, it really hasn't settled in yet. I can start with thanking my family first, you guys have been nothing but supportive. On top of that, thank you Misha, thank you LAIFC, thank you for constantly believing in me. It just feels surreal."

Luke Linder captures his second consecutive Men's Saber title in 2024.

Men's Saber: Luke Linder, Notre Dame

The Men's Saber event put Luke Linder of Notre Dame against Neil Lilov of Penn State. Linder made it two titles in a row after defeating Lilov by a score of 15-13, securing the gold medal and national championship for Notre Dame.

Eyad Marouf of Wayne State and Luca Fioretto of Ohio State each received bronze medals. Jordan Silberzweig of Yale, Kamar Skeete of Penn State, Alexander Lacaze of Notre Dame, and Antonio Escueta of Brandeis rounded out the top eight.


"It's just a reflection of the men's saber team that we have at our school. We are all driven, this is props to them for getting me to here, working me at practice, and just cheering, everything they got. I know they were really happy for me today so all around on our squad, props, I am proud of them."

Parafencing Demonstration

For the first time at the NCAA Fencing Championship, a parafencing demonstration took place before the semifinal bouts on Sunday. In a successful effort by USA Fencing, the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, the NCAA and Ohio State, the bout between Byron Branch and Garrett Schoonover had a captivated audience.

Parafencing squad manager Beth Mahr said "Today was a really exciting and historic day. To showcase parafencing at the NCAA level is a great start to generating more awareness and inclusion for parafencing at the collegiate level. We look forward to working with OSU to utilize the legacy gift and continue the conversations with many other colleges to support their programs."

Ohio State Head Coach Donald Anthony, Associate Athletic Director for Compliance Carly Grimshaw Rusnov, USA Fencing CEO Phil Andrews, and Lauryn DeLuca PLY pose with Byron Branch and Garrett Schoonover

Tag(s): Updates