The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Fencing finishes third at NCAA’s

While the newly created student section was gearing up for Monday night’s second round of the men’s basketball NIT, the SJU fencing team, the most successful and consistent athletic team over the past decade, was competing at the NCAA Championships at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Col.

Like last year, St. John’s (171 points) finished behind Penn State (179). However, this year the Red Storm finished third instead of second. Notre Dame (182) won the team title.

St. John’s qualified 10 fencers to compete over the weekend out of a possible 12. “Our goal was to finish third place,” St. John’s Head Coach Yury Gelman said. “With 10 people, it was a great result.”

“We weren’t necessarily looking to win the whole championship,” added three-time senior All American Ivan Lee. “To win the whole thing would have been a miracle.”

The Championships, which are typically conducted over four days, were reduced to two days of competition due to inclement weather in the region.

After the first day of competition, the Johnnies were in second place, and trailed Notre Dame by only three points.

The Red Storm tallied 105 points on day one – including a tournament-high 25 in men’s sabre, 22 in men’s epee and 20 points (second-best) in women’s epee.

Lee finished in first place in the men’s sabre after the first day, winning 14 bouts, while Serhiy Isayenko posted a third place mark, with 11 wins. Nitai Kfir was at the top in men’s foil, winning 12 bouts.

The Red Storm tied for first with Notre Dame in the men’s competition, tallying 94 points (winning the sabre with 40 bout wins and taking second in the foil with 35), and finished in fourth place on the women’s side, with 77 points (winning the foil competition).

According to his coach, it was impossible for Lee to do any better, winning all 23 points possible.

However, Lee came up short to freshman Adam Crompton of Ohio State, 15-13, in the gold medal match.

It marked the first time since his freshman year that Lee lost a match in collegiate competition.

“I did the best for my team and I feel very happy and satisfied,” Lee said. “I have nothing to be ashamed about.”

Isayenko finished the men’s sabre competition in fifth place with 17 points.

Kfir finished in second place in the foil after losing the gold medal match to Non Panchan of Penn State, 15-14. Anton Gurevich took fourth place in the epee with 20 points while Arpad Horvath, the defending NCAA Champion in the event, finished in sixth place.

Julia Gelman (19 points), last year’s bronze medal winner in the sabre, led the women, winning the silver medal in her second attempt, after losing the gold metal match to Alexis Jemal of Rutgers, 15-12.

“Julia did very well, and was very close to winning,” Gelman said.

Christina Crane finished eighth with 14 points, while Irina Khouade finished in fourth place in the foil and Liz Thottman placed 16th overall.

Arlene Stevens lost the bronze medal match in the epee and finished in fourth place with 17 points.

With their third place finish, St. John’s has now finished in the top five for the ninth straight year. It also marks the eighth top-five finish under Gelman.

“We will try to stay in the top four, maybe even higher,” Gelman said of next year’s squad.

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