8th-Ranked AFA Will Be Going Up Against the Strong Competition in Indiana
Jan. 26, 2004
The AFA fencing teams were off last week in preparation for the Notre Dame duals at the Joyce Center Fieldhouse in Indiana, Jan. 31-Feb. 1. Competing in Indiana are AFA, Notre Dame, UC San Diego, Cal State Fullerton, Cleveland State, Detroit, Duke, Lawrence, Northwestern, Ohio State, and Wayne State.
The last time AFA fenced against No. 1 Notre Dame was at the NCAA Fencing Championships in March 2003. Six Academy fencers combined their talents to finish ninth in the nation. This year, it will take all the strength and experience the class of 2004 can muster to out-fence the strong competition. Air Force is without men's epee national champion Seth Kelsey and Colorado's NCAA Woman of the Year, Elia Burrill, women's epee, and Andrea Rix, NCAA 15th-place finisher in women's saber, who graduated in 2003.
Head coach Abdel Salem will rely on sophomore Timothy French, 2003 men's epee All-American, Melissa Romero, 23rd NCAA finisher in women's saber, and 2003-04 team captains Curtis Marshall, Sean Blas and Apphia Taylor to lead the Falcons to a top win in their respective events. Competing in Indiana are Men's Epee: Jason Stockdale, French, Marshall, women's epee: Kate Strickland, Teresa Moreno, Taylor, Lydia Bigelow and Kim Templer. Men's foil competitors are Kent Morgan, Carl Chen, Julio Gamez, Ryan Sealy, women's foil: Beth Jasczak, Ebony Cook, Natalie Chounet and Ashley Roell. In men's sabre: Blas, Pappy Oboho, Josh Trice, Sam Bartron and in women's sabre: Romero, Alison Freiman, Mary Zinnel and Katherine Gulczynski.
The U.S. Fencing Coaches Association announced its first poll of the season last week. The Air Force men's team is ranked 8th in the nation. Notre Dame is the No. 1 ranked team followed by Ohio State, Penn State, and St. John's (NY), Columbia, Princeton and Pennsylvania. Harvard and New York University are ranked 9th and 10th, respectively.
"This is really great for Air Force to be respected enough to be ranked eighth in the national poll," Salem said.