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Hare Leads Nine Qualifers for Men's Fencing at NCAA Regionals

John Hare
John Hare

EASTON, Pa. – Sophomore John Hare earned Haverford's highest individual sabre finish at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Regional since 2013 NCAA regional finalist Aaron Ruby placed seventh. The Fords' sabrist led nine regional qualifiers for the Haverford College men's fencing team with a 15th place showing at what is widely considered the toughest regional in NCAA fencing.

Hare's placement marked an 11 spot improvement from his rookie season. He went a combined 7-2 over the first two rounds of fencing to earn advancement into the top 18. He toppled foes from MACFA rivals Stevens, Johns Hopkins, and NJIT during the opening round; falling only to North Carolina. With an all Division I pool except himself in the second round, he took down NJIT, Duke, Penn State, and Penn and was seeded fifth going into the semifinal round.

Pitted once again against all Division I opposition in the Round of 18, he emerged victorious against Penn's eventual national championship qualifier Raphael Van Hoffelen, but a 5-4 defeat to Penn State's national championship qualifier Matthew Lewicki and 5-3 setback against Duke's Duncan DeCaire left him just outside of the final 12 and the "at-large" seat to the NCAA Championships.

Juniors David Parker and Gabriel Braun made it three sabrists representing Haverford. Both have now qualified to the regional championships in each of their first three seasons. Parker defeated Stevens' Juan Amezuita and placed 30th overall. Braun was edged out in a pair of tough 5-4 bouts and was credited with a share of the 31st place finish.

After making the regional championship round a season ago, Yan Yan Xie found himself as one of two Haverford foilists in the top 24 alongside Jack Leighninger. Xie opened his day with a 4-1 record, defeating opponents from North Carolina, Lafayette, Stevens, and Johns Hopkins during the first round. He beat NJIT's Chris Saulys during the second round, but missed advancement to the top 18 by just three touches as he placed 21st overall with just a razor thin margin separating those final fencers from advancement.

Leighninger went 3-2 in the first round of foil competition. He topped both of his opponents from Johns Hopkins and another from MACFA rival Stevens to earn advancement into the top 24. He bested Duke's Brycen Rushing by a 5-4 score in the next round and ended his day in 23rd place, a six spot improvement from his first year in the program. Alton Wiggers earned victories over Johns Hopkins' Jacob Joram and Lafayette's Andrew Mange in his regional debut, placing 28th overall. Senior Aldis Gamble qualified to the regional draw for the third time in his career, finishing his senior campaign with a 36th place finish.

Kadan Lottick and Ian Wheeler represented Haverford's epeeists with both fencers placing higher than their seeding coming into the weekend. Lottick defeated Drew's Jeremy Ferreira and Duke's Amit Sarma. The sophomore was credited with a 28th place finish during his second regional appearance in as many seasons. Senior co-captain Wheeler returned to regional competition for the second time in his career and defeated NJIT's Ege Ayan to finish in a tie for 31st place. In a day of close calls, all of his losses came by either 5-3 or 5-4 scores.

The regional competition concludes the 2017-18 season for the Fords. Although the squad will graduate three seniors from this year's team, Haverford appears poised to once again be among the top teams in the conference in the coming years as it returns seven of the team's regional qualifiers.