Freshmen Fencers, Houser and Dyson, AFA's Top Finishers at NAC
U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. - The Air Force Academy fencers traveled to Dallas, Texas, this past weekend to compete in the North American Cup (NAC) Division I and Junior competitions. The Falcons' top finishers in the competition were freshmen Chase Houser and Travis Dyson.

Houser was the Falcons' top finisher in Saturday's Division I Men's Epee event. Houser won his second-round bout 15-14, but lost his third-round match, 15-7, and finished 15th among his 257 opponents. Dyson was also a top finisher on Sunday, as he tied for 36th place among 189 fencers in the NAC Junior Men's Foil event. In pools, Dyson earned a bye after winning 83 percent of his bouts (5-1). In round 2, he lost 15-10 and finished tied for 36th place.

Other AFA high finishers were junior Heather Nelson, freshman Juli Nokleberg, senior Daniel Trapani, sophomore Nathan Sorensen, and freshman Daniel Cohen.

"Many of our fencers were competing in their first national competition and handled the new challenge very well," according to head coach Abdel Salem.

On Friday, Cohen finished 73rd among 193 fencers in the Div. I Men's Foil competition and freshman Yevgeniy Shmurak finished 79th. Senior Nick Stockdale took 111th place, followed by Dyson (155th) and senior William Hock (180th).

Also competing on Friday, in Junior Women's Epee, freshmen Olivia Prosseda finished 107th in the field of 151. Rachel Cranfill finished 133rd followed by Keslie Cooper (137th), Nokleberg (143rd), Vianca Torres (148th), Ashley Chung (150th) and Tara Zartman (151st). In Junior Men's Saber, sophomore Scott Pippin finished 82nd among 148, and freshmen Emerson Woerner and Michael Gallagher finished in 107th and 140th place, respectively.

"For our freshmen walk-ons, Cranfill, Cooper, Torres, Chung and Zartman, this was their first national tournament. They fought hard and scored good touches but the national competition proved very tough for the new competitors," said Salem.

On Saturday, Trapani and Sorensen were the team's high finishers in the Div. I Men's Epee event. Trapani finished 62nd, while Sorensen finished 66th in the field of 257.

In other Saturday action, juniors Ben Rinaldi finished 138th in Div. I Men's Epee, and teammate Mister Jackson finished 245th, while freshman Adam Walker finished 214th. In Junior Women's Foil, the freshmen squad struggled in the highly competitive 148-fencer competition. Diana Hock, Chung and Torres tied for 142nd place, while Heather Drephal and Zartman tied in 148th place in the event.

On Sunday, Nelson finished 51st in the field of 112 Div. I Women's Saber competition. In Div. I Women's Epee, Nokleberg, after a close loss in the second round of competition, was the Falcons' high finisher in 52nd place among 157 competitors.

Also competing on Sunday, in Div. I Men's Saber, Woerner finished in 103rd place, while Edward Wood finished in 155th place and Pippin finished 159th in the field of 162.

Nelson, who competed in Monday's Junior Women's Saber event finished 51st after a 15-14 loss in the second round. Houser and Walker both fenced in the Junior Men's Epee competition. Houser finished 72nd, while Walker finished 102nd in the event that fielded 224 fencers.



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