Air Force Fencers Ranked in USFA Points Standings
The U.S. Fencing Association Point Standings were released this week for epee, saber and foil (Jan. 26). Five Academy fencers are nationally ranked in the USFA point standings. Leading the way for the Air Force Academy fencing program is senior Peter French. French is currently ranked fifth in the nation with 2510 points in men's epee, only four spots behind No. 1 ranked Seth Kelsey, a former 2003 Academy graduate and a two-time men's epee Olympian.
Also receiving rankings in USFA are AFA's junior Daniel Trapani, who is ranked 47th, and sophomore Ben Rinaldi, who is tied for 57th, in men's epee. In women's epee, sophomore Simone Barrette is tied for 21st in senior women's epee and is also ranked 17th in junior women's epee. Freshman Heather Nelson is currently ranked 24th in the nation in junior women's saber.
The USFA point rankings are based on results throughout the season. Points are awarded to fencers that place in the top 32 and above at North American Cups (NAC), as well as international competitions. The rankings typically indicate a level of consistency and skill; thus, the top three fencers in each weapon, gender and age category are selected to become part of the U.S. national fencing team and represent the United States at that year's World Championships. Additionally, only fencers with points in Division 1 are allowed to compete in that year's U.S. Division 1 National Championships.
"The fact that Peter jumped to fifth place in the point standings after just two NACs and no international events indicates the incredible level of his achievement," said assistant coach Timothy French.
On Jan. 15, French won his second consecutive Division 1 Men's Epee NAC in San Jose, Calif., when he defeated Igor Gantsevich, a current Canadian Senior World Team member and Pan American Games gold medalist, 15-13. French also beat the current first, second and third-ranked U.S. men's epee fencers including Kelsey, in the round of 16 to advance to the quarterfinals where he bested Benjamin Bratton, the current second-ranked men's epee fencer. French went on to defeat Cody Mattern, the current third-ranked men's epee fencer and 2004 Olympian, 15-14, in the semifinals before winning the gold.
Upcoming Events: The fencing team will travel to Waltham, Mass., for the Brandeis University Invitational, Jan. 30-31. The Duke Meet follows, Feb. 6-7, in Durham, N.C. The NAC Junior Championships will take place in Memphis, Tenn., Feb. 12-15.