Fencing to Host George Kolombatovich Historical Meet

NEW YORK—The Columbia Fencing program will host its third annual George Kolombatovich Historical Meet on Wednesday evening at the Dodge Fitness Center University Gymnasium “Blue Gym”. The Lions will host NYU, Sacred Heart, and Vassar in a three-way meet beginning at 5:15 pm A complete schedule is posted below and a match program is available at this link.

The meet will not only be Columbia’s final scheduled competition before NCAA Regionals on March 13, but the program will also celebrate the senior fencers on the team.

Columbia will fence NYU at 5:15 pm, take on Sacred Heart at 6:30 pm, then matches up against Vassar at 7:45 pm Columbia’s matchup against NYU is for the rivalry’s annual trophies.

Each year, team winners of the annual Columbia-NYU fencing matchup earn the right to two respective trophies: Irving Martin Preschel men’s fencing trophy and the Katy Bilodeau ’87CC women’s trophy. The Preschel Trophy dates back to 1945-46 and is named in honor of Preschel, a former manager and member of the NYU fencing team who was killed in action at Heidelberg Germany on March 30, 1945. A Columbia superstar, Bilodeau was a four- time All-American, two-time NCAA foil champion (1985 and 1987), two-time Olympian (1988 and 1992), and was named the NCAA Athlete of the Decade for the 1980s. The Bilodeau Trophy was introduced in 1990-91 but the Columbia-NYU women’s series began in 1982-83.

In the men’s series, Columbia owns a 55-47-1 advantage against NYU in the 103-bout series which began in 1923-24. The Lions have claimed seven of the last 10 trophy matchups between the two schools. Columbia has won all 40 women’s boots against NYU dating back to 1982-83.

Previously known as Columbia’s Historical Meet, the event’s name was changed to the George Kolombatovich Historical Meet in 2018-19 season to honor the former Columbia fencing coach after his passing in September 2018 in Florida.

Since arriving on Morningside Heights in 1978 as an assistant coach, Kolombatovich served as Columbia’s head fencing coach for 33 seasons, starting in 1979. From 1983-2005, he served as Co-Head Fencing Coach with Dr. Aladar Kogler. Overall, his coaching dual match record is 286-114 (.715 winning percentage) in men’s fencing and 311-83 (.789) in women’s fencing. With Kolombatovich at the helm, Columbia sustained a long run as one of the nation’s premier college fencing programs. His Columbia teams won five national championships (two combined and three men’s titles), 17 Ivy League men’s fencing titles and eight Ivy League women’s fencing titles over 33 years.

Columbia enters Wednesday’s dual matches fresh off winning a seventh Ivy League men’s title in the last eight years at the Ivy League Round Robin Championships this weekend. Columbia’s women finished tied for second.

Following Wednesday’s matches, Columbia’s next scheduled competition is at NCAA Regionals on Sunday, March 13 in Poughkeepsie, NY Vassar College will host the event.

Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022 | Dodge Fitness Center-University Gymnasium/Columbia Fencing Room | New York, NY

5:05 pm • National Anthem (University “Blue” Gym, 2nd floor)
5:15 pm • Columbia vs. NYU (University “Blue” Gym, 2nd floor), competition is for the annual trophies
6:30 pm • Columbia vs. Sacred Heart (University “Blue” Gym, 2nd floor)
6:30 pm • NYU vs. Vassar (Columbia Fencing Room, 1st floor)
7:45 pm • Columbia vs. Vassar (University “Blue” Gym, 2nd floor)
7:45 pm • NYU vs. Sacred Heart (Columbia Fencing Room, 1st floor)

All matches played at Columbia’s Dodge Fitness Center on Columbia’s campus. Admission is free.

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