Fencing Team to Begin Play This Week

Hall-of-Fame Coach Yuri Gelman looks to lead his team to another top-10 NCAA Tournament finish in 2017–18

Photo Courtesy/Athletic Communications

Photo Courtesy/Athletic Communications

Nick McCreven, Staff Writer

St. John’s fencing will commence this Friday, Oct.  13 when they head out to Anaheim, California for the October North American Cup. The team is coming off a highly successful year in 2016-17.

Two team members won national championships for their respective competitions; Andras Nemeth reigned victorious in the men’s foil and Cooper Schumacher won the men’s epee at the NCAA National Championships in March, while on the women’s side, Mathilda Taharo took third place in saber. St. John’s took home sixth place overall to cap off the year, making it the 25th straight year finishing sixth place in the country or higher.

The team has big shoes to fill and great expectations, but Coach Yury Gelman is confident. “We want to finish at least top six in the country again,” Gelman, a coach for the U.S. National Team, said.

Although Schumacher and Taharo graduated and will not suit up for the Johnnies this year,, Nemeth  and the rest of the roster is experienced and ready for a strong follow up year.

There is only one freshman on either squad (Sal Centanni, a saber from Washington, D.C.). With a team of veterans in tow, the Johnnies know how to compete at this level and perform in high-leverage situations.

After their four-day event this week, the team will have just under a month to regroup until they head out for Kansas City for the November North American Cup on Nov. 10. For the remainder of the first semester, their only other battle is a trip up to Waltham, Mass.,just outside of Boston,for the Brandeis Invitational.

The fencing squad continues in the spring semester, one of the only sports to span both sides of the calendar year, going to the January North American Cup in Virginia Beach the first week of 2018. They host their only home meet of the year, the St. John’s Invitational, on Jan. 20.

The following day they head straight out to Pennsylvania for the UPenn Invitational. They travel to the Junior Olympic Fencing Championships in Memphis, Tennessee in February and make one last stop at Temple University for their invitational before it is time for NCAA National Championships.

The NCAA Championships are in Pennsylvania in late March, where  some  Johnnies hope to represent the University’s illustrious program, which boasts 24 individual national champions.