FENCERS OF THE WEEK (Feb. 1-7, 2010)

Note – additional information & action photos of all 10 fencers is being added to this release on a continuing basis (check back for updates).


RELEASE: Feb. 9, 2010                          CONTACT: Pete LaFleur (editor@collegefencing360.com)
National College Fencers of the Week  (Feb. 1-7, 2010)
presented by CollegeFencing360.com

DANIEL TRAPANI  (men's epee ... Air Force ... Jr. ... Houston, TX)
Went 12-0 at the Duke Duals, with sweep of Penn State (including '09 NCAA foil champ
Nick Chinman and '09 NCAA epee entrant Max Dettlinger), key wins vs. Duke's Jonathan
Parker ('09 NCAA entrant) & UNC newcomer Thomas LeGuillou ('09 PennSt Open champ) 

BECCA WARD  (women's sabre ... Duke ... So. ... Portland, OR)

Continued dominating season (60-1; 113-3 career record in college reg.-season bouts)
by going 12-0 at Duke Duals (beat club teammate/PSU All-American Caity Thompson)

Honorable Mention Fencers of the Week

KERI BYERTS  (women's epee ... Penn State ... Sr. ... Webster, NH)

All-America veteran who went 11-1 at Duke Duals (only loss came vs. Emily D'Agostino)

EMILY D'AGOSTINO  (women's epee ... Duke ... Fr. ... Portland, OR)
Impressive rookie went 11-1 at Duke Duals (beat Byerts and '09 NCAA champion
Anastasia Ferdman; only loss came vs. Air Force 2009 NCAA entrant Simone Barrette)

KELLEY HURLEY  (women's epee ... Notre Dame ... Sr. ... San Antonio, TX)
Swept regional rivals from Northwestern en route to 27-0 day at ND Duals (62 straight wins)

TRISTAN JONES  (men's epee ... Duke ... So. ... Andover, NH)
Provided key sweep of Penn State to help Blue Devils men upset #1-ranked Nittany Lions

JARED REBOER  (men's foil ... Sacred Heart ... Fr. ... Coeyman's Hollow, NY)
Swept Columbia (beat All-American Kurt Getz) and NYU, then went 12-1 to help win NEIFC title

ANDREW STANCO  (men's epee ... NYU ... Sr. ... Princeton, NJ)
Went 3-0 to lead upset of #5 Columbia (win over All-American Dwight Smith)

CAITY THOMPSON  (women's sabre ... Pen State ... 5th-Yr. Sr. ... Portland, OR)
Her only loss at Duke Duals (11-1) came vs. Olympian and '09 NCAA champ Becca Ward 

KEVIN ZEICHMANN  (men's sabre ... North Carolina ... Jr. ... Charlotte, NC)
Swept Penn State (including top-3 starter Bobby Thompson) during 11-1 day at Duke Duals

• • • 


Duke sophomore sabreist Becca Ward (left) lost only one of her 61 bouts during the 2009-10 college dual-meet season (photo courtesy of Duke).

CollegeFencing360.com has recognized Air Force junior men's epeeist Daniel Trapani (Houston, Texas) and Duke sophomore women's sabreist Becca Ward (Portland, Ore.) as national fencers of the week, for Feb. 1-7, 2010. There also is a second group of eight (honorable mention; listed above), with all 10 of these fencers pictured in the right sidebar and below.

The 10 fencers honored on this page include three women's epeeists, three men's epeeists, two women's sabreists, a men's foilists and a men's sabreist. The fencers hail from seven different home states: Oregon (3; all from Portland), Texas (2), New Hampshire (2), New Jersey, New York and North Csarolina. The 10 honorees include three seniors, two juniors, two sophomores, two freshmen and a fifth-year senior.

Fencers are selected based on several criteria, including: won-loss record, quality of opponents, clutch performances, and contribution to team success. Click on the Fencer of the Week archive link (at the top of this release) for information on the 2009 weekly recipients.

whose 2009 NCAA finish (5th) earned him All-America honors (14th in '08) – won all 12 of his bouts during the Duke Duals (Feb. 6), as Air Force faced top-ranked Penn State (9-18 team loss), #10 Duke (16-11), North Carolina (14-13) and Brandeis (14-13). Trapani led the win over a Duke team that upset PSU later in the day, while Air Force needed all of his winning bouts in the one-point victories over UNC and Brandeis. During the course of his 12 bouts, Trapani doubled up his opponents in total points (60-30) – highlighted by six 5-1 wins, four 5-3 decisions and a pair of one-touch bouts (both 5-4). Nine of his opposing fencers were either seniors (3) or juniors (6), along with two sophomores and only one freshman.

The Air Force men's epee team – consisting of the "Texas trio" of Trapani, senior All-American Tim French (Austin) and freshman Nathan Sorenson (Houston) – racked up 27 total wins in the four matches, outscoring the combined point total of the AFA men's foil and sabre squads. Trapani and French (10-2) proved to be a formidable duo, combining for a 22-2 record.

AFA Daniel Trapani men's epee

Air Force junior epeeist Daniel Trapani (left) swept all 12 of his bouts at the Duke Duals (photo courtesy of Air Force).

Trapani opened the Duke Duals with a 5-1 win vs. Blue Devils sophomore Jonathan Parker (a '09 NCAA entrant), followed by a similar 5-1 bout vs. sophomore Tristan Jones (a CF360 honoree this week) and a 5-4 victory over freshman Robert Greer as the Falcons posted a 7-2 win in the weapon. Air Force then nearly swept the epee bouts vs. Brandeis (8-1), with Trapani posting wins over junior Will Bedor (5-3), Alex Clos (5-1) and Andrew Travis (5-1).

Air Force outscored Penn State 6-3, led by Trapani's sweep (all 5-3) of three seniors: Brian Heflich, multi-weapon talent Nich Chinman (the '09 NCAA foil champ) and 2009 NCAA entrant Max Dettlinger. Trapani closed his day against three UNC juniors, with a 5-3 win over Thomas LeGuillou (who won the Penn State Open, in the fall of '09), a 5-4 battle vs. Jarrett Rodriguez and a 5-4 bout vs. Eric Hsieh (AFA won, 6-3).

French (14th at '07 NCAAs, 6th in '08, 7th in '09) and Trapani could prove to be college fencing's top men's epee duo in 2010. Others contending for that distinction include the Wayne State senior pairing of three-time NCAA champion Slava Zingerman and two-time All-American Mykhaylo Mazur (9th at '09 NCAAs), along with Princeton juniors Graham Wicas (3rd at '08 NCAAs, 2nd in '09) and Mike Elfassy (13th at '09 NCAAs). Trapani and French could be in the running for top-4 finishes at the 2010 NCAAs, as 2009 semifinalists Benji Ungar (Harvard) and Jason Pryor (Ohio State) both have moved on and only five of the top-10 finishes from 2009 are back this season (Zingerman, Wicas, Trapani French amd Mazur).

Trapani – who went 16-2 at the Brandeis Sollee Invitational two weeks ago – now owns a 138-41 career record (.771) in regular-season bouts while competing for Air Force in dual-meet action. The home-school product was coached by Andrea Geva at the Alliance Fencing Academy club. Trapani is majoring in foreign area studies with a minor in Russian, and he plans to pursue a postgraduate career in military intelligence or special investigations.

IMG_1718 copy Becca Ward (left), pictured during action in the 2009 NCAA title bout (photo by Pete LaFleur/CF360).

WARD  joined Trapani in sweeping her 12 bouts at the Duke Duals (Feb. 7), allowing only 15 total points during those four matches (1.25 pts per bout) – with only two opponents scoring more than two touches vs. the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist and '09 NCAA champion. Her 12 wins included three shutouts (5-0), plus five 5-1 wins, two 5-2 scores and two relatively "close" decisions at 5-3. Ward led the way in three Duke team wins (18-9 vs. UNC, 19-8 vs. Brandeis and 20-7 vs. Air Force) while helping the Blue Devils post a competitive result vs. top-ranked Penn State (11-16 loss). Ward faced three seniors, two juniors, three sophomores and four freshmen during her Duke Duals bouts.

Over the past two years, Ward has amassed a dominating 113-3 record (.974) in regular-season dual meets (60-1 this season). Her wins at the 2010 Duke Duals featured a sweep of the Penn State squad that includes fifth-year senior Caity Thompson, a former teammate of Ward's with the U.S. National Team program (both are products of the Portland-based Northwest Fencing Alliance club). Ward posted a 5-3 win over defeated the three-time All-American Thompson (4th at '06 NCAAs, 2nd in '07, 11th in '09), adding wins over PSU sophomore Olivia Benedek (5-0) and freshman Jessica Russo (5-1).

Ward's perfect day at the Duke Duals included facing two other fencers who have competed in the NCAA Championship, registering a 5-1 win over North Carolina junior Jen Sawicki ('07 & '08 NCAA entrant) and a 5-2 victory over Brandeis junior Anna Hanley ('09 NCAAs). Her other bouts vs. UNC produced wins over senior Patty Sanders (5-2) and freshman Stephanie Leung (5-0), while her sweep of Brandeis also included bouts vs. junior Alex Turner (5-3) and freshman Zoe Messinger (5-1). Her wins over Air Force were as follows: 5-0 vs. Amanda Terry and 5-1 vs. Saskia Hicks (both sophomores), plus 5-1 vs. freshman Heather Nelson.

(For you hardcore college fencing fans, can you name the four fencers who have handed Ward her only losses during her two-year Duke career – in dual meet, NCAA Regional or NCAA Championship bouts? Answers are revealed at the bottom of this Ward text.)

Ward's two-year record in Duke dual meets is 113-3 (.974), with a 53-2 record as a freshman before going 60-1 this season. She went on to win the NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Regional title and then claim the NCAA title (22-1 in round-robin; 15-11 semifinal vs. St. John's junior Dagmara Wozniak; 15-4 final vs. Harvard's Caroline Vloka; finished +77 in those 25 bouts). Her combined record in NCAA dual-meet, Regional and Championship bouts during the past two seasons is 152-4 (.974).

That two-year NCAA dominance is comparable to another recent Northwest Fencing Alliance product, Mariel Zagunis, who had a 75-3 record in dual meets while fencing for Notre Dame in 2005 and '06. Zagunis was the 2006 NCAA champion ('05 runner-up) and has won the past two Olympic gold medals (she edged Ward, 15-11, in the '08 Olympic semifinals).

IMG_1728 copy (photo from 2009 NCAA title bout; by Pete LaFleur/CF360)

Trivia Answer – Ward's only losses over the past two years in a a college dual meet, NCAA Regional or NCAA Championship are as follows: twice at the Princeton Multi-Meet on Jan. 25, 2009 (3-5 vs. current Penn State 5th-yr. senior and three-time All-American Caity Thompson; 2-5 vs. current U-Penn junior Danielle Kamis, who placed 10th at the '08 NCAAs & 14th in '09) ... on the first day of the 2009 NCAAs (March 12), in a 4-5 bout vs. PSU's Monica Aksamit (who placed 6th at the '09 NCAAs as a freshman but has not fenced for PSU this season) ... and 4-5 last month at the Northwestern Duals (Jan. 20, 2010), vs. Ohio State freshman Allison Miller ... since the 2009 Princeton Multi-Meet, Ward has suffered only two losses in college bouts (both 4-5).

(Note that action photos for a couple of the fencers listed below have yet to be provided).

Penn State senior women's epeeist KERI BYERTS (Webster, N.Y.) – an All-America performer in 2008 (when she placed 5th in the NCAAs) – won al but one of her bouts at the Duke Duals (11-1), with her only loss coming vs. Duke freshman Emily D'Agostino (a fellow CF360 honoree this week). Byerts combined with classmate Anastasia Ferdman ('09 NCAA champ; 6-0 at Duke) in leading a PSU women's epee squad that outscored all four opponents, as the top-ranked Nittany Lions women picked up four overall team wins (16-11 vs. Duke, 20-7 vs. UNC, and 25-2 vs. both Brandeis and Air Force).

Byerts totaled a 57-26 scoring margin in her 12 bouts (two 5-0, one 5-1, five 5-2, two 5-3 and one 5-4, plus the loss to D'Agostino), while facing four seniors, four juniors, two sophomores and two freshmen. She opened the day by allowing only four touches against North Carolina (5-0 vs. jr. Melissa Litschi & sr. Annie Moran; 5-0 Camilla Pawierza; PSU 6-3 edge), followed by her lone loss along with 5-3 wins over Duke senior Nicole Bloom and junior Erin Pytel (PSU had 5-4 margin).

In PSU's pair of big wins, Byerts survived a 5-4 battle vs. Air Force sophomore/'09 NCAA entrant Simone Barrette (5-2 vs. so. Kaitlyn Bogan & sr. Jennifer Nolta) and then allowed only three points against Brandeis: 5-2 vs. sr. Sydney Reuben, 5-1 jr. Emma Larkin & 5-0 vs. jr. sub Adrienne Katz (PSU had 8-1 epee edge in both 25-2 wins).

Byerts – a product of the Rochester (N.Y.) Fencing Center – placed fifth in the 2009 NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Regional but her teammates Ferdman and Nina Westman graded out higher in the qualification formula for the NCAA Championships (and thus claimed PSU's maximum two spots in the '09 NCAAs). Westman, a freshman in 2009, apparently did not return to PSU this year – increasing Byerts' chances for a return to the NCAAs.

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Kelley Hurley
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Tristan Jones
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Jared Reboer
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Andrew Stanco 2

Andrew Stanco
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Caity Thompson
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Bobby Zeichmann
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Note – additional information on all 10 fencers (along with action photos) is being added to this release on a continuing basis.