NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – The MIT men's fencing team dominated the epee field while freshmen led the charge in the remaining weapons in the season-opening The Big One Invitational hosted by Smith College on Saturday. Junior Joseph Rafidi (Los Angeles, Calif.) won the epee competition for the second year in a row, followed by senior Jackson Crane (San Francisco, Calif.) in second place, freshman Jack Greenfield was tied for third while classmate Giulio Gueltrini (Ravenna, Italy) captured fifth. Freshman Nicholas Sledeski (Belle Mead, N.J.) tied for third place in sabre action as fellow rookie Scott Robinson (Califon, N.J.) registered the Engineers' top performance in foil by finishing 11th.
Rafidi, Crane, Greenfield, and Gueltrini each recorded undefeated performances in pool play before advancing to the second round. In the bracket, Rafidi defeated Gueltrini, 15-8, in the round of eight, topped Greenfield, 15-7, in the semifinals, and edged out Crane, 15-14, in the championship. In his intercollegiate debut, freshman Deniz Oktay (San Jose, Calif.) captured 16th place after a 4-2 performance in pool play and earning a spot in the quarterfinals. Sophomore David Wyrobnik (Franfurt am Main, Germany) had a 4-1 outing in pool play, earned a first round bye, and picked up a 15-5 win before being edged out by his foe from Dartmouth, 15-13, resulting in 24th place. Sophomore Thomas Boning and freshman Dinis Cheian (Chisinau, Moldova) posted ledgers of 5-1 and 4-2 in pool play but fell in their first matches of the second round to finish 35th and 38th respectively.
In the sabre competition, Sledeski went unscathed in pool play and advanced to the semifinals where he fell to the eventual champion, 15-5. Sophomore Luke O'Malley (Los Angeles, Calif.) ranked 21st as he went 3-1 in round robin action, earned a bye, dismissed his opponent from Middlebury College, 15-7, before falling in the next round, 15-2. Freshmen Pon Jirachuphun (Chantaburi, Thailand) and Adam Hood earned spots in the second round after compiling records of 3-2 and 3-3 respectively. The pair was defeated in their next bouts which put them 37th and 49th in the final standings. Freshman Rashed Al-Rashed (Al-Odailiya, Kuwait) rounded out the squad in a tie for 81st.
Following an undefeated performance in pool play, Robinson advanced to the round of 16 where he fell to the eventual champion from Sacred Heart, 15-6. Seniors Alexander Siy (Feura Bush, N.Y.) and Chris Perera (Jacksonville, Fla.) ranked 20th and 26th, respectively after turning in performances of 4-1 and 4-2 in round robin action and earning spots in the second round of bracket play. Sophomore Daniel Mendelsohn (New York, N.Y.), junior James Clark (Falls Church, Va.), and Arjun Srinivasan completed the contingent with placements of 61st, 65th, and 77th.
Next up will the first Northeast Fencing Conference competition of the year which MIT will host on Saturday, Nov. 17.