Badgers set to host 2017 OUA Men's Fencing Championship this weekend

Badgers set to host 2017 OUA Men's Fencing Championship this weekend

BURLINGTON, Ont. – The reigning champion University of Toronto Varsity Blues will make the trip to St. Catharines this weekend as they look to defend their title at the OUA Men's Fencing Championship.

For additional information on the OUA Men's Fencing Championship, click here for the Championship Fan Guide.

Toronto will be chasing their 32nd team title in program history as the championship begins Saturday morning at the Ian Beddis Field House on the campus of Brock University.

Now in his third season competing in the OUA, the Blues will look to two-time reigning individual sabre gold medalist William Kinney (Mississauga, Ont.) to keep it going this weekend.  With the silver and bronze medalists not returning to defend their medals, you have to like his chances at a repeat.  The Mississauga, Ont. native was also instrumental in the Blues capturing gold in the team sabre event last year.  

After a third place finish a season ago, the Blues also hope that second-year standout Colin Dale (Toronto, Ont.) can take a couple steps up the podium.  Of the top five finishers at the 2016 OUA championship, Dale is the only student-athlete returning to compete this weekend.  Just two weeks ago, the Toronto, Ont. native captured a silver medal in the junior men's epee and a gold medal in the epee team event at the Canada Cup.

As a rookie last year, the Blues' Beston Leung (Markham, Ont.) finished tenth in the individual epee event.

Another couple names to keep an eye on this weekend for Toronto are a pair of foil veterans Paul Godin (Calgary, Alta.) and Thomas Feore (Stratford, Ont.).  Now in his sixth season of competition, Godin who is pursuing his PhD in Physics, will bring a veteran presence to a young Blues team.

The Carleton Ravens will soar into St. Catharines Saturday looking for some revenge as it was the Blues who denied them of a third consecutive title last season.  Known especially for their foil and epee dominance, the Ravens are the three-time defending champions in both team events.

Carleton will have to deal with some key losses as four-time OUA epee all-star Joe Wright and two-time OUA foil all-star Alexandre Salat have since moved on.

Ravens foil specialist Phil McCully (Ottawa, Ont.) is the defending individual bronze medalist and is a legitimate contender for the top spot on Saturday.  It was likely a bittersweet victory for McCully at the 2016 championship as he defeated teammate Geoff Devaney (Ottawa, Ont.) in the process. 

The dynamic duo of Devaney and McCully will join forces with newcomer Goldwyn Millar (Winnipeg, MB) in the team event.  Earlier this year, they won silver at the RMC Invitational and gold as the host at the Carleton Invitational in January.

The time is likely now for Ravens two-time OUA all-star and epee specialist Zac Zanussi (Red Deer, AB).  Of the student-athletes returning to compete this year, Zanussi, who finished sixth in 2016, would rank second after Toronto's Dale.

After not competing in the team sabre event, the Ravens will field a team in the event this weekend.

Chasing their seventh OUA men's fencing title in program history, the Gaels will invade the Ian Beddis Field House in search of their first banner since winning three straight from 2011-2013.

Leading the charge for the Gaels is epee standout Gavin Crowder.  Crowder is back in the mix this weekend for the Gaels and is coming off a eighth place finish at last year's event.  However, with several top ranking epee competitors not returning, a top five finish or even a place on the podium is well within Crowder's grasp.

The Gaels enter competition on Sunday as the defending bronze medalists in both the men's sabre and epee team events.

Strong showings in the team events at last year's OUA championship led Western to a fourth-place finish but surely this time around it'll be podium or bust for the Mustangs.

Western captured silver in the team epee event but missed the podium and finished fourth in both the sabre and foil disciplines.  However, the Mustangs will surely have some work to do as their two top 10 individual finishers from a year ago are not retuning this time around.

Chasing their first Charles Walter Trophy in program history, the Ryerson Rams won bronze in the foil team event and finished fifth overall.

In his first year with the Rams, foil specialist Sam Hardwicke (Edmonton, Alta.) won the individual event and was named an OUA all-star in the process.  The Edmonton, Alta. native also helped Ryerson win the previously mentioned team event and is a legitimate contender to defend his individual gold.

Known predominantly for their foil strength, the uOttawa Gee-Gees would like nothing more than to bring an end to the crosstown rival Ravens run in the event.  For the Gee-Gees, it begins with the defending individual silver medalist, Patrick Fournier.  After finishing eighth in the same event last year, Brad Bermingham is also back and looking for a top five finish this weekend.

Other fencers to keep an eye on this weekend are Evan McDonnell from the Trent Excalibur, and McMaster Marauders standout Andrew Nguyen.

McDonnell finished seventh in the individual men's epee event but was award the George Tully Trophy as the most proficient male fencer, while Nguyen also finished fifth in the sabre.

The RMC Paladins, York Lions and Guelph Gryphons round out the competition.

The OUA Men's Fencing Championship begins with the individual events at 9:00am on Saturday, Feb. 16 and concludes on Sunday with the team relay competitions.  Following the completion of the competition, the medal and banner presentations will begin at approximately 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm.

All events will take place at the Ian Beddis Field House on the campus of Brock University.

Saturday February 11, 2017:

Individual Events

-       10:30am - Men's Foil Individual Starts

-       11:30am - Men's Epee Individual Starts

-       1:00pm - Men's Sabre Individual Starts

Sunday February 12, 2017:

Team Relay Events

-       9:00am - Men's Foil Team Relay Starts

-       10:30am - Men's Epee Team Relay Starts

-       11:30am - Men's Sabre Team Relay Starts