COLLEGE FENCING 360.com
contact: Pete LaFleur (email@example.com)
(for the week of Jan. 19-25, 2009)
(St. John's ... Men's Sabre ... Fr. ... 24-3 record ... Bronx, N.Y. ... Manhattan Fencing Club)
(Columbia ... Women's Sabre ... Jr. ... 20-2 ... Brookline, Mass. ... Manhattan Fencing Club)
Enzo Castellani (Notre Dame, men's foil, fr., 14-3; Keller, Texas)
Andras Horanyi (Ohio State, men's foil, sr., 21-3; Boulder, Colo.)
Ewa Nelip (Notre Dame, women's epee, so., 19-2; Katowice, Poland)
Nicole Ross (Columbia, women's foil, so., 22-2; New York, N.Y.)
Other fencers of note for the week: Jon Berkowsky (Penn, men's sabre; 8-1), Andrew Bielen (Penn; men's sabre; 8-1), Oksana Dmytruk (Ohio State, women's foil, 23-4), Anastasia Ferdman (Penn State; women's epee; 11-0), Courtney Hurley (Notre Dame; women's foil; 14-3), Danielle Kamis (Penn; women's sabre; 8-1), Tanya Novakovska (St. John's; women's epee; 21-6), Doris Willette (PSU; women's foil; 9-0), Dagmara Wozniak (SJU; women's sabre; 21-6), Becca Ward (Duke; women' sabre; 14-2), Slava Zingerman (Wayne State, men's epee; 13-2).
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Sabreists Daryl Homer (St. John's; freshman) and Daria Schneider (Columbia; junior) have been named the inaugural CollegeFencing360 national fencers of the week, for the week of Jan. 19-25.
Homer (Bronx, N.Y.) – who went 2-0 versus both the defending NCAA champion and runner-up –had an impressive weekend while facing fencers from many of the nation's top collegiate teams, compiling a 24-3 record (9-1 vs. All-America fencers) in action at the St. John's Invitational and the NYU Duals. Schneider (Brookline, Mass.) had a similar level of success at those two events by going 20-2, highlighted by a 5-4 win over defending NCAA women's sabre champion Sarah Borrmann to deliver a 14-13 for the Lions over the Notre Dame women.
Schneider and Homer (who was born in the Virgin Islands) both currently train at the Manhattan Fencing Club, in New York City.
The fencer-of-the-week awards are based on several factors, including: won-loss record, level of competition, clutch performances and significant role played in team victories. CollegeFencing360 also has recognized five fencers with honorable mention for the week of Jan. 19-25: Notre Dame freshman men's foilist Enzo Castellani, Ohio State senior men's foilist Andras Horanyi, ND sophomore women's epeeist Ewa Nelip, and Columbia sophomore women's foilist Nicole Ross.
HOMER – who placed third at the 2007 Junior World Championship and was an alternate that year for the U.S. men's sabre senior national team – played a lead role in helping the #9-ranked St. John's men post a pair of wins last weekend over #4 Columbia (18-9; 14-13), plus another upset victory versus #7 Harvard (14-13). His 24-3 record also included two matches versus both #2 Notre Dame and #3 Ohio State, plus wins over Wayne State and NYU. Homer allowed a total of only 64 touches in his 27 bouts, for an average of 2.4 opponent points per bout.
The St. John's men sabre team went 6-3 during the weekend action, twice besting Columbia (both 7-2) to go along with wins over Harvard (6-3), Notre Dame (6-3, at SJU), NYU (8-1) and WSU (8-1). The Ohio State men's sabreists narrowly edged homestanding SJU (5-4; followed by a 6-3 win at NYU) while ND won the rematch with SJU (6-3, at NYU).
Homer knocked off defending NCAA champion Jeff Spear (Columbia) at both events, 5-3/5-2, adding a similar sweep of Ohio State senior Mike Momtselidze (the '08 NCAA runner-up) by scores of 5-3 and 5-1. His strong weekend showing included five other wins over fencers who have earned All-America status (top-12) at previous NCAA Championships: Notre Dame's Bill Thanhouser (5-4) and Barron Nydam (5-3, 5-3), NYU's Sam Roukas (5-2) and Wayne State's Jakub Gibczynski (5-2). Thanhouser placed sixth at the 2007 NCAAs (13th in '08), while Nydam (6th), Roukas (7th) and Gibczynski (10th) all were 2008 All-Americans.
NYU's other top men's sabreist, Jared Hammond, also competed at the 2008 NCAAs (17th), but he likewise failed to defeat Homer over the weekend (2-5). Hammond earlier had competed at the 2007 NCAAs (23rd), alongside Thanhouser, Momtselidze (4th) and Roukas (22nd).
Homer's only loss at the SJU Invitational came versus Thanhouser (3-5) while OSU freshman Max Stearns (3-5) and junior Dexter Wilde (2-5) handed Homer his only defeats at the NYU Duals. Wilde could be an emerging force for OSU, despite not competing in the 2008 NCAAs (he was runner-up at both the 2008 Midwest Fencing Conference meet and the Midwest Regional, but he finished behind Momtselidze and Sergey Smirnov in determining OSU's two men's sabre entrants for the '08 NCAAs).
The 2009 NCAA men's sabre competition should be a fierce one, with the addition of Homer to a potential field that already includes 10 former All-Americans and a total of 19 men' sabreists with NCAA Tournament experience, led by Spear, Momtselidze, Penn State's Daniel Bak (3rd in '08), Thanhouser, Nydam and Roukas. Other returning All-Americans include Duke's Peter Truszkowski (8th in '08), WSU's Gibczynski, and the Penn duo of Jon Berkowsky (11th in '08) and Andrew Bielen (10th in '07).
SCHNEIDER had a memorable return last weekend to big-time college fencing, after not competing for Columbia in 2008 while pursuing a spot on the U.S. Olympic women's sabre squad (she narrowly missed a spot on that elite team). The combined returns of Schneider, St. John's redshirt sophomore Dagmara Wozniak (alternate on '08 Olympic team; 5th-place NCAA finisher in '07) and Penn State's Caitlyn Thompson – the 2007 NCAA runner-up and another '08 Olympic hopeful – quickly elevate the prospects for a 2009 NCAA women's sabre event that features only one returning fencer (Borrmann) from the '08 semifinalist group.
In addition to Borrmann, only five other All-Americans are back from the 2008 NCAA field: fellow ND sophomore Eileen Hassett (5th), Columbia-Barnard sophomore Jackie Jacobson (6th), Stanford veteran Eva Jellison (9th, also 10th in '07), Penn's Danielle Kamis (10th) and SJU's Martyna Wieczorek (11th).
Schneider combined with Jacobson and foil veteran Ross to lead a solid weekend showing by the Columbia women. The Lions women had a pair of noteworthy wins at SJU – versus #3 Ohio State (17-10) and the host Red Storm (20-7) – before going 4-1 at the NYU Duals, with the thrilling 14-13 upset of #2 Notre Dame (avenging a 17-10 loss from the day before) to go along with another win over OSU (15-12) plus comfortable victories over Stevens Tech and Wayne State (both 18-9). Schneider and the C-B women nearly completed a 7-1 weekend record, but St. John's pulled out their own 14-13 win.
The weekend's second matchup between Notre Dame and Columbia produced yet another 14-13 nailbiter in the series between those schools. Schneider's win over Hassett (5-2) gave her team an early 3-1 lead, but ND then went on a 9-2 run to claim a 10-5 advantage. Schneider responded with a 5-4 win over Beatriz Almeida (avenging her only loss from Saturday, 3-5), but the Irish moments later were poised for the win with a 12-8 lead.
The Lions' rally started with a foil win from Abby Caparros-Janto (5-3, vs. Hayley Reese), followed by wins from Jacobson (5-4, vs. Almeida), Ross (5-2, vs. fellow NCAA semifinalist Adi Nott) and epeeist Neely Brandfield-Harvey (5-3, vs. defending NCAA champion Kelly Hurley). Hassett's 5-1 bout with Samantha Roberts forged a 13-13 tie, but Schneider held off Borrmann (5-4) to end those exciting rounds of bouting.
Schneider and Jacobson (16-6) – who currently appear to be nation's the top women's sabre duo, followed by the ND pair – combined with Roberts to go undefeated as a unit during the weekend (8-0), totaling 51 victories and only 21 defeats.
Similar to Homer's weekend record, Schneider went 8-0 versus fellow All-Americans – sweeping ND's Borrmann (5-4, 5-4) and Hassett (5-2, 5-2) and SJU's Wozniak (5-2, 5-3) and Wieczovek (5-3, 5-3). Her only losses in 22 total bouts came versus Almeida and SJU's Dora Varga (3-5, at the NYU Duals), a senior transfer who was a 13-time Hungarian national champion in various categories.
(check back later to the end of this release for brief details and highlights for the honorable-mention recipients – Castellani, Horanyi, Nelip and Ross ... note that, starting next week, we will attempt to post weekly award recipients early in the week, typically on Monday or Tuesday)