The best fencers in the countrycame to St. John’s on Sunday asthe University hosted the 2010St. John’s Fencing Invitational.
The event featured top teamsfrom around the country includingPenn State, Notre Dame, Harvard,Columbia and Ohio State. All of thevisiting teams are ranked in theTop 10 in both the men’s andwomen’s polls.
Led by freshman EvgeniyaKirpicheva, the St. John’s women’steam captured the Best Team Cup,awarded to the winner of theinvitational. Kirpicheva won 13 of her15 individual matches in the foil. Asa team, the Red Storm went 4-1,defeating No. 4 Columbia (14-13),No. 6 Ohio State (14-13), No. 1Penn State (14-13) and No. 3Harvard (19-8).
“Evgeniya was great, but a lot ofpeople fenced well today,” headcoach Yury Gelman said. “I wasvery pleased with our performance.”Junior Dagmara Wozniak andsenior Tanya Novakovska alsohelped pace the Red Storm, compiling12-3 records in their respective divisions.
The men’s team fi nished theday 2-3, defeating Harvard andColumbia. Sophomore Daryl Homerled the eighth-ranked Johnnies, compilinga 12-3 record in the sabre,while fellow sophomore MaratIsraelian fi nished 11-4 to lead theepee team.”One of our strongest guys,Alejandro Rojas, wasn’t able to gotoday because he is returning from[a competition in] Spain,” Gelmansaid. “To do this well without himshows how strong we are as a team.”Top-ranked Penn State captured themen’s title with a record of 4-1, losing onlyto Notre Dame.Gelman said the experience offacing such stiff competition willhelp his team as they prepare tomake a run for the national title.
“This was the six best teams inthe country here today,” Gelman said.
“This type of competition absolutelyhelps us down the road in the NCAAs.”
The Red Storm were competingon short rest after participating in theNYU Invitational on Saturday.
Being able to compete at home infront of family and friends helped tore-energize some of the athletes.
“Being at home is great, we havethat advantage,” senior Alexis Ladrevillesaid. “We like having people cometo cheer for us, especially on thesecond day like this. Everyone istired. It gives us that extra energy.”
The invitational also marked thefi rst home match for Irina Koroleva.
The highly-regarded freshman cameto the United States on Monday fromher native Russia. Koroleva, whoplayed in her fi rst match for the RedStorm on Saturday, said that hernerves were the biggest issue cominginto today’s match.
“It’s hard for her right now butshe’ll do fi ne,” Gelman said. “Shewas a little disappointed with herperformance but she did okay.”