WALTHAM, Mass. -- The men took center stage on the third day of action at the NCAA National Collegiate Fencing Championships at the Gosman Athletic Center on the campus of Brandeis University.
In foil action, Ohio State sophomore Max Chastanet went 3-1 in the third round of the day to surge into first place with a 12-3 record, one point ahead of four rivals with 11-4 marks: Notre Dame freshman Axel Kiefer, Penn State senior Nobuo Bravo, and the Columbia tandem of seniors Harrison Bergman and Adam Mathieu. Chastanet suffered one of his three losses at the hands of Bravo, 5-3, and has yet to face the other three in the group behind him.
In epee, defending champion Jake Hoyle, a senior from Columbia, topped the group with a 13-2 record. Hoyle is one point ahead of the 2014 champion, junior Yevgeniy Karyuchenko of St. John's. Hoyle won the head-to-head matchup between the two, 5-2, in the opening round of action. Hoyle's losses came at the hands of sophomore teammate Porter Hesselgrave (5-2) and Ohio State sophomore Marc-Antoine Blais (5-4), who sits in third place at 11-4. Karyuchenko's other defeats were to Notre Dame's Garrett McGrath (5-2) and Romain Cannone of Sacred Heart University (5-3).
The final weapon of the day, sabre, saw a complete dead heat after three rounds. Local product Andrew Mackiewicz of Westwood, Mass., a sophomore from Penn State, and St. John's senior Ferenc Valkai both went 12-3 with identical plus-27 indicators and 69 touches scored. Mackiewicz, the defending NCAA champion in the sabre, defeated Valkai in head-to-head competition (5-3), though that does not break ties in this competition. Mackiewicz's losses came at the hands of teammate Kaito Streets, Charles Copti of Duke and Edward Chin of Princeton. Valkai's other two defeats came against Calvin Liang of Columbia and Shaul Gordon of the University of Pennsylvania. Four fencers sit two points back of the leaders at 10-5.
In the team standings, Columbia University closed in on their second-straight championship as they expanded a two-point lead to 13 over Ohio State, 147-134. The Lions are looking to become the first repeat champions since Penn State in 2009 and 2010. Columbia rode their 22 points from Harrison and Mathieu to expand their lead, the most scored by any men's squad today. OSU's 134 points were buoyed by the epee squad, which was tied with St. Johns with 21 points. The Buckeyes' second-place standing is especially strong, as they qualified 11 fencers, one fewer than the maximum number allowed. Mackiewicz and Streets led the Penn State to the top of the sabre standings, though the Nittany Lions are in sixth overall with 100 points. St. John's and Notre Dame are in third and fourth place, each with 131 points, while Princeton is fifth with Princeton.
Action resumes tomorrow at 9 a.m. with the final two rounds of round-robin action. The semifinals and finals will begin at 1:30 p.m. and will be streamed live on ESPN3. The NCAA will also produce a one-hour special on the event that will be broadcast on ESPNU on April 6 at 2:30 p.m.