Wozniak Attack

As if being the No. 1-ranked junior fencer in the world wasn’t enough, Dagmara Wozniak has her eyes set on something greater. The standout freshman hopes to represent her native Poland in the 2008 Olympic Games, and she expects to win.

“I’ve started a harder training schedule for the Olympics and I’m going to as many competitions as I can to get points to be eligible,” Wozniak said. “I’m going to work really hard for that.”

Just business as usual for the 18-year-old phenom who brought home her first World Cup victory two months ago in Italy, a feat she cited as her greatest achievement.

For the time being, though, Wozniak is taking things one step at a time. Coming into the season, she said that her most important goals were to show her teammates exactly what she can bring to the table and that her presence is important.

“I wanted to show my team that I was a good asset and that the coach didn’t make a mistake by bringing me here,” she said. “I wanted to show them I can bring a lot to the team and that as time goes on I’m going to bring even more.”

The Red Storm was fortunate to land such a star on their already dominant fencing squad, which has been one of the premier programs in the nation in recent years. St. John’s was in competition with powerhouses such as Notre Dame and Penn State before getting confirmation that Wozniak was coming to Queens.

“I wanted to stay in New York because I found a really good coach in Manhattan and didn’t want to separate from that,” Wozniak said. “Changing coaches is very difficult. I didn’t want to possibly hurt my career.”

However, being ranked as the best fencer in the world doesn’t come without its hardships.

“[Being the No. 1 rank] does put a little pressure on me,” she said “You’re expected to do just as well every time you’re out there. It’s hard to find a good balance.”

But Wozniak is grateful to be in the position that she’s in, which affords her the opportunity to visit more countries in a year then many people experience in their lifetime.

“I’ve seen so many different places and cultures,” she said. “It teaches you that there’s more to life then what you know in the United States.”