Six Academy Fencers Will Compete in the NCAA Men's & Women's Fencing Championships
Security heightened at Air Force Academy Colorado Springs, Colo. - Security at the Air Force Academy continues in a heightened state indefinitely. Athletic events will continue as scheduled, but are closed to the general public until further notice. Only people holding Department of Defense identification will be allowed on base at this time. Officials and other game personnel will be permitted, but must contact the Academy to ensure they are on an Entry Authorization List. Exceptions to this policy will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
March 10, 2003
After finishing first in the NCAA Men's & Women's Western Regional Championships for the second consecutive year, six Academy fencers will advance to the NCAA Fencing Championships, March 20-23. On March 13, the NCAA selection committee will announce the teams competing next week. The Academy will be the host site for the NCAAs, admission is free.
Air Force fencers in the national competition are C1Cs Seth Kelsey, Elia Burrill, Andrea Rix and C3C Marisa Romero. C4Cs Tim French and Caitlin Harris will also compete in their first NCAA Championship of their careers.
Air Force Seniors: At the NCAA Western Regional Championships, Kelsey, a senior from Brush Prairie, Wash., finished first in men's epee. Kelsey, ranked No. 1 nationally, has competed in several Senior World Cups and World Championships while at the Academy and is a three-time All-American.
Burrill, who finished first in the women's epee, is one of the team's top leaders both on and off the fencing strip. A Truckee, Calif., native, Burrill is a two-time MVP and has also competed in World Cups in Cuba and Australia. In 2002, Burrill had only one defeat in the regional meet. Rix, who is a senior from Grand Junction, Colo., placed first in the women's sabre. Rix led the Falcons to a 4-0 women's sabre team finish, helping the women's team to its overall first-place sweep at the regional competition. Marisa Romero, from Allen, Texas, is the lone sophomore fencer. Romero had a career-best finish last week at the Western Regionals, finishing second in women's sabre. In 2002, she finished 14th.
Air Force Freshmen: French, an Austin, Texas native, who finished second at the regionals in men's epee is one of two freshmen to compete in the NCAA Championships. In February, after the Junior Olympics, French qualified for a spot on the USA Junior World Team, which will be held in Trapani, Italy in April. Before coming to the Academy, French competed on three U.S National teams and was the 2001 junior men's epee national champion. Caitlin Harris, a San Antonio, Texas, native who placed second in women's epee at regionals, will help to round out the Air Force team of top competitors next week.
From the Coach: "The team worked in harmony and performed beyond my expectations," Head Coach Abdel Salem said. "It was a pleasure to be in the gym with the fencing team and to watch them win match after match."
Throughout the season, Salem has relied on the team's leadership to guide the underclassmen to one of the most successful seasons ever. "We had a very successful season and I attribute that to the senior leadership on the team," he commented.
NCAA Championship Schedule: Thursday, March 20 - Men's Foil, Epee and Sabre (rounds 1-4) at 10:00 a.m. Friday, March 21 - Men's Epee, Foil and Sabre (rounds 5-7) at 10:00 a.m. Opening Ceremonies -- 2:00 p.m. Men's Gold Medal Bouts at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, March 22 - Women's Epee, Foil and Sabre (rounds 1-4) at 12:00 p.m. Sunday, March 23 - Women's Epee, Foil and Sabre (rounds 5-7) at 10:00 a.m. Women's Gold Medal Bouts -- 2:00 p.m. The men's and women's awards presentations will follow immediately after the final bouts.