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Season Preview: Men's Fencing Returns Seven Regional Qualifiers for Championship Hunt

John Hare
John Hare

Preseason Captains Interview

HAVERFORD, Pa. – The Haverford College men's fencing team will opens its 2018-19 season this Sunday, October 28 at the annual Temple Open. The Fords will feature a deep team this coming winter as seven of the team's regional qualifiers from last year return to fold for the 2018-19 season. Haverford is coming off of a fourth place finish at the MACFA Championships after winning 23 team bouts during regular season for the squad's highest total since the 2011 MACFA Championship team.

Perhaps no weapon squad better exemplifies the Fords' depth than sabre where the team returns each of its three members from the 2017 MACFA Squad Championship. After coming up just short of a repeat last year, the Fords' sabrists appear well positioned for another run at the squad championship this season. John Hare was a runner-up at the 2017 MACFA Championships before placing fifth last spring. He is a two-time regional qualifier entering his junior season and is coming off a career-best 15th place finish at the regional meet. Co-captain Gabriel Braun and fellow senior David Parker will bring the veteran leadership to the squad as both fencers are already three-time regional qualifiers.

Braun earned a MACFA bronze medal in 2016 on his way to being named Haverford's Archibald MacIntosh 1921 Award recipient for the top scholar-athlete in the first year class. He has been named to the Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area selection each of the past two seasons and was named to the CoSIDA At-Large All-District team for the first time in his career as a junior. The 2017 Team MVP, Parker turned in his best performance at an NCAA Regional meet in 2016 as he placed 18th. He will look to bookend his career with an even stronger showing this year. Kagan Harris added valuable experience to the sabre squad last year with impressive showings at Vassar, the Dan Arnstein '09 Invitational, and Drew, among many others. He will look to continue his ascent during his sophomore campaign. Senior Henry Li also rejoins the sabre squad after a making huge strides during his sophomore season.

Returning Team MVP Yan Yan Xie headlines a foil squad which also returns three regional qualifiers. Now a junior, Xie was a regional finalist during his rookie campaign and won a MACFA bronze medal last year. Classmate Jack Leighninger adds another two-year regional qualifier to Haverford's foil lineup. Leighninger finished a career-best 23rd at the regional meet during his sophomore campaign. Alton Wiggers also qualified to regional championships during his first year with the Fords, placing 28th. Carter Langen excelled as another strong option for the foilists at the Vassar and Drew Invitationals as a rookie. First year Nicholas Conroy joins the talented foil squad looking to make a similar impact that his squadmates have made in their short time at Haverford.

Junior co-captain Kadan Lottick is Haverford's returning regional qualifier to the epee squad. Lottick is coming off a bronze medal at the MACFA Championships and back-to-back regional appearances from his sophomore season. The Fords' 2018 Rookie of the Year, Adrian Ballard, and fellow classmate Raynor Bond-Ashpole will look to continue their progression this year. Ballard displayed some of his strongest fencing during the MACFA Championship portion of the season with eight wins during the "A" vs. "C" bouts. Bond-Ashpole excelled with six wins at Vassar, along with another three victories during Drew's Holiday Invite. With just four epeeists, first year Adrian Velonis should have plenty of chances to bolster that weapon squad throughout the winter months.

With a very similar schedule to year's past, men's fencing will host its annual Dan Arnstein '09 Invitational on Saturday, November 17. The Fords will compete in seven different meets, including the always-challenging Penn State and Philadelphia Invitationals, before MACFA Championship season gets underway in mid-February.