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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Homer wins silver at NCAAs

St. John’s freshman sabre Daryl Homer earned a silver medal this past weekend at the NCAA Fencing championships in University Park, Penn.

After upsetting top-seeded Mike Momtselidze of Ohio State by five touches, Homer moved on to face Penn State’s Aleksander Ochocki in the finals, to whom he would eventually fall to by one touch.

“Being at home gave him a second life, I’d say,” said Homer of Ochocki, whose success can be partially attributed to the role that the fans and familiar surroundings played. To claim the two are familiar with each other would be an understatement, “I trained with him for my entire freshman year,” Homer said.

The level of competition encountered at NCAAs seemed to catch Homer off guard, “It was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be, everyone was out to win, the level was very high,” he said.

Homer’s silver was the first medal by a St. John’s sabre since 2005, when Sergey Isayenko won the event.

“He is one of the best athletes in the country,” said head coach Yury Gelman, “there are very high expectations
for him.”

Overall, the Red Storm squad finished with 115 points, good for sixth place and only one point behind Harvard for fifth.

It should come as no surprise that the Penn State Nittany Lions won the team championship, scoring 195 points and tallying four individual gold medals along the way.

St. John’s has been a dominant force in fencing, as this marks the seventeenth year the university has finished in sixth or higher in the nation, including a national championship in 2001.

“We expected to get somewhere from fifth to sixth place, and that’s what we got,” Gelman said in regard to his team’s performance.

Now in his 14th year at the helm, Gelman has established his team as a national power, never finishing below sixth in the nation during his tenure at St. John’s.

It was ultimately an impressive showing for the Red Storm sabres, as sophomore Dagmara Wozniak took home the bronze medal on the women’s side.

Wozniak lost in the semifinals to Harvard’s Caroline Vloka, the eventual national runner-up, leaving her in a tie for third with Daria Schneider of Columbia/Barnard.

Because of a mere one-point advantage in indicators, Wozniak edged out Schneider for the bronze.

Ten St. John’s fencers competed at the meet, the finale of the fencing season. Sabre Dora Varga and epée Tanya Novakovska finished with identical eighth-place finishes in their respective events.

Also competing were sabre Alejandro Rojas, foil Alexis Landreville, epée Stanley Vaksman, epée Nicholas Vomero, foil Nora Szita, and epée Joanna Guy.

For seniors Guy, Varga and Vaksman, the NCAA championships marked the end of their collegiate fencing careers.

Both medalists, Homer and Wozniak, are underclassmen with several years of eligibility remaining.

Look for them to be among the NCAA’s elite sabres again during the 2009-10 fencing season, and to challenge for national championships.

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