History of Cornell Fencing
A Dynamic Tradition of Excellence
Cornell has a strong tradition of providing students with opportunities to participate in athletics at the highest levels. The Men's Varsity Team became a national power in the 1930s under head coach Georges Cointe. Cornell squads competed and medaled in the Intercollegiate Fencing Association, and was IFA three-weapon champion in 1955. Richard Pew (1955) placed fourth in the 1956 Olympics.
The first Intercollegiate Women's Fencing Association championship tournament was held at Cornell in 1929, and the Women's Varsity Team claimed the national crown the following year. Cornell returned to the top of the fencing world under head coach Graeme Jennings in 1991, winning back-to-back NIWFA championships. Coach Ariana Klinkov joined the Big Red in 2019. In her first season as coach, she led the Women to a program best 24-10 record and to an upset win over No. 1-ranked Princeton at the Northwestern Duals. Three Cornell fencers were selected for the All-Ivy squads and qualified for 2020 NCAA Championships.
In 1993, the Men's Club Team was created and eventually became the official Practice Squad for the Women's Varsity. In addition to their own practices, the Men's Club practices with the Women's Varsity and sometimes travels with them.
The Recreational Club was created by Frank Castelli, a Cornell alum and previous Club fencer, to provide fencing opportunities to a broader audience.
The Cornell Fencing Association was founded on April 2, 2015 by a group of Cornell fencers and alumni, in partnership with the Athletic Department, Coaching Staff, and the Athletic Alumni Affairs Department. The CFA was established to encourage, promote, and support the fencing program at Cornell University.