Ziad Khayat and Benjamin Hadler of the University of California San Diego earned All-America accolades Friday as men’s competition at the 2019 NCAA Fencing Championships wrapped up at Cleveland State University. Khayat placed seventh in Men’s Epee, the best-ever finish for a male Triton at nationals, while Hadler was 12th in Men’s Foil.
By placing among the top-12 in their 24-competitor fields, Khayat and Hadler picked up their first career All-American titles. Both Tritons improved their standing from Thursday as Khayat was ninth and Hadler was 16th after three rounds of bouts.
Syed Adam Emir Putra also represented UC San Diego, taking 23rd in Men’s Sabre.
Khayat went 14-9 over five rounds and recorded a +14 indicator with 96 touches scored and 82 touches against. The sophomore earned victories against rivals from Columbia (2), Duke, Harvard, Incarnate Word, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Princeton (2), St. John’s (2), Stevens Tech, and Yale.
“Every bout felt winnable,” Khayat said. “I lost a lot of bouts I shouldn’t have, but I beat some really good fencers, too. Even the bouts I lost, I thought I fenced well.”
Khayat’s finish was the best for a Triton since Taly Yukelson took sixth in Women’s Epee in 2017.
A freshman, Hadler registered a 12-11 record and a +3 indicator with 87 touches scored and 84 against. He collected wins over fencers from Air Force, Brown, Duke, Harvard (2), NYU, Ohio State (2), Penn State (2), Princeton, and Stanford.
Hadler’s older brother, David (’18), qualified for NCAA Championships four times as a Triton, earning All-America status twice in Foil.
Emir Putra went 4-19 overall. The freshman from Malaysia finished with a -38 indicator, scoring 70 touches with 108 against. His wins came against Detroit Mercy, Duke, Penn State, and Yale.
“It was an amazing experience being at NCAA’s,” Emir Putra said. “Everyone was good and competitive. However, I felt like I had a shot at doing well. For now, I have to keep working on little details with the team.”
At nationals, fencers compete in five rounds of five-touch bouts run in a round-robin format. After round robin, the top-four finishers in each weapon fence in semifinal 15-touch bouts, with winners facing off to determine first and second places, and non-advancing fencers being awarded a tie for third place. An institution’s place finish will be based on points earned by each individual. A team will be awarded one point for each victory by its student-athletes.
Notre Dame’s Nick Itkin repeated as the national champion in foil. Ohio State’s Oliver Shindler won the Men’s Epee title and Penn State’s Karol Metryka came away with the Men’s Sabre crown.
Following the men’s competition, UC San Diego is in 12th place of 22 schools with 30 points. Columbia/Barnard leads with 90 points, while Penn State (84) is second and Notre Dame (78) is third.
“Today, our program made history with the best-ever result for the men’s team,” said first-year UC San Diego Head Coach Juan Ignacio Calderon. “It is time to celebrate, but also to remain humble and focus on working hard to continue our journey of improvement independently of the short term results.”
Women’s action is scheduled for Saturday (rounds 1-3) and Sunday (rounds 4-5, semifinals, finals). UC San Diego will be represented by sophomore epeeist Emily Beihold and sophomore sabreuse Miya Coimbra. Beihold competed in 2018 also, finishing 20th.
The Tritons placed 14th of 27 teams at the 2018 NCAA National Championships.