New York University's Mike Lofton and Stefan Kogler won all eight of their bouts today to win the individual titles in the sabre and foil, respectively, in the Intercollegiate Fencing Association championships at Halsey Field House.
Pennsylvania freshman Chris O'Loughlin nearly duplicated that feat in winning the epee competition, but a loss to Mike Harthill of St. John's forced him to settle for a 7-1 record.
The IFA championships are the last opportunity for fencers to prove themselves before next week's NCAA tournament in Princeton, N.J. Fencers who performed well today are virtually assured an invitation to the NCAA competition.
Lofton, a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic team, was easily the most dominant fencer in the individual phase of the tournament. After a lackluster performance Saturday in the team competition, Lofton, the defending NCAA champion, was unbeatable today. He allowed a total of just nine touches, shutting out one opponent and holding three others to one each.
Lofton capped his performance by beating Columbia all-America Robert Cottingham, 5-2, in what may have been the most emotional bout of the tournament. Lofton, who had lost to Cottingham Saturday, came out aggressively, initiated the action and forced Cottingham off the strip three times.
Lofton looked particularly sharp on the third point when be blocked a parry to the head and counter-parried with a downward blow across the chest so hard it knocked the wind out of Cottingham.
"I was on today," said Lofton, fencing for the first time in three weeks. "He's beaten me the last two times we've fenced, but I just relaxed and followed my reflexes today."
"I knew he'd be trying to kill me today," said Cottingham. "Some of his moves were brilliant."
Kogler, who transferred to NYU from Wayne State in 1985, also closed out his day impressively, beating defending IFA champion Jerome DeMarque of Yale, 5-3.
O'Loughlin's victory came as a surprise to everyone, including himself. Given little chance of placing in a division that included 1984 Olympian Steve Trevor of Columbia and highly regarded James O'Neil of Harvard, O'Laughlin edged both, 5-4, and came within one point of beating Harthill.