February 23, 2014

Rafidi, Epee Team Finish First at New England Championship

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – Senior Joey Rafidi (Los Angles, Calif.) captured MIT's first individual epee title at the New England Intercollegiate Fencing Championship since 1995 while the epee team finished atop the standings for the first time in five years on Saturday. Freshman Benjamin Lin (Beaverton, Ore.) was third in the sabre competition as sophomore Scott Robinson (Califon, N.J.) finished fifth in foil action, helping the Engineers claim the runner-up spot among 11 teams.

Rafidi along with sophomores Giulio Gueltrini (Ravenna, Italy) and Dinis Cheian (Chisinau, Moldova) each finished first in the standings within their respective qualify pools. Rafidi went 8-2 in the "A" group before winning all 10 of his bouts in both elimination round-robins en route to MIT's first epee crown since Keith Lichten '95 won back-to-back championships in 1994 and 1995. Gueltrini was eighth in the overall rankings courtesy of a 9-1 performance in the "B" pool and a 2-3 total in the opening round. In Cheian's first appearance at the event, he went 7-2 in the "C" group but was unable to come away with a win in the next round as he ranked 12th overall.

The Engineers were the runner-ups in the sabre field, marking their best finish in five years. Lin generated a 9-1 total in the "A" group which put him in second place heading into the elimination rounds. He went 4-1 in the first round, followed by a 3-2 mark in the next rotation en route to a bronze medal. Senior Ehsan Izadmehr (Wayne, N.J.) won all 10 of his bouts in the "B" pool before going 2-3 in the next round to rank eighth overall. Sophomore Laphonchai Jirachuphun (Chantaburi, Thailand) was fifth in the "C" group after recording a total of 5-5.

Robinson improved upon last year's outing in the foil competition by moving up one spot to fifth after producing a tally of 8-2 to rank fourth in the "B" pool. He then went 3-2 in the first round before notching a 2-3 mark in the second rotation. Freshman Christopher McKinney (Concord, Mass.) had a 6-4 performance in the "A" group to rank sixth heading into the elimination round-robin where he picked up a win to place 12th overall. Junior David Wyrobnik (Frankfurt am Main, Germany) completed the fourth-place foil contingent with a 6-3 ledger that resulted in the fourth spot in the "C" pool.

MIT returns to action on Sunday, March 9 at the NCAA Northeast Championship to be held at Wellesley College.