March 13, 2013
NCAA releases 2013 championship field Championships take place March 21-24 in San Antonio, Texas Byline: NCAA.com
U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. - Two Air Force Academy fencers were selected to participate in the NCAA Fencing National Championships, freshmen Mary McElwee and James Salem. The NCAA Men's and Women's Fencing Committee has announced the field of 144 competitors that will participate in the 2013 National Collegiate Men's and Women's Fencing Championships. Freshmen Mary McElwee (San Francisco, Calif. - Lowell H.S.) and James Salem (Colorado Springs, Colo. - Pine Creek H.S.) have been selected to compete in the individual men's epee and women's foil championships, respectively, March 21-24 in San Antonio, Texas.
The University of the Incarnate Word and San Antonio Sports will co-host the championships at the Freeman Coliseum March 21-24 in San Antonio, Texas. The National Collegiate Men's and Women's Fencing Championships include individual events in each of the six weapons (men's foil, men's epee, men's sabre, women's foil, women's epee, women's sabre).
Fencers will compete in a round-robin format of five-touch bouts. After the round-robin, the top-four finishers will fence in semifinal 15-touch bouts, with the winners fencing to determine first and second places, and the losers being awarded a tie for third place.
An institution's place finish in the championships will be based on points earned by each individual. A team will be awarded one point for each victory by its student-athletes for the duration of the championships.
Air Force Squads Advance to West Region Final Rounds in Five Disciplines
The Academy's fencers received the selection to the NCAAs following the 2013 West Region Championships on March 9 at the UC San Diego campus.
Highlights from the West Region included, sophomore Jessica Steuber who gritted through a barrage of arduous and extended bouts Saturday, emerging as one of only four Western female epeeists to gain entry to direct elimination competition. Steuber, a member of cadet squadron 27, won a majority of her bouts. Well behind Natalie Chan from UC San Diego in the placement in direct elimination (DE) for third place, Steuber stayed cool and rallied with a series of five touches, ending the confrontation for third, 15-8.
It was a bittersweet experience for senior Nathan Sorensen in his final of four years of admirable service to the team. The two-time Falcon Open and New Mexico Open champion applied his usual high energy to each bout, closing in on silver in the DE round. A momentary distraction, as Sorensen reflects, allowed fellow leftie Jake Harbour of Stanford to wrestle the place from him in a heartbreaking finish of 14-15. Junior Olivia Prosseda also sat strip side to cheer Steuber, with whom she and Sorensen have fenced nearly daily for a year. As usual Prosseda contributed multiple wins to the AFA tally Saturday, but was shut out of the DE round 14-15 in her last bout.
Elsewhere on the epee floor, Salem had a strong day, keeping veteran fencers from Stanford and UCSD on the defense. Salem took second in the individual men's epee competition, also falling to Harbour by a slim margin.
Another bold performance came from freshman Ryan Redhead, who took third in the individual men's saber competition. He defeated Jeremy Klepner of Stanford, 15-12.
Despite an extremely strong performance and winning all but one bout, the Falcons' talented Alex Chiang did not qualify. Chiang sent NCAA foil runner-up Turner Caldwell packing in the DE round, 5-2, but lost the DE segment matched against London Olympian Alexander Massialas, 10-15.
Women's foil entered and departed the competition strong. Freshmen Madeleine Girardot and Mary McElwee advanced easily to the final DE segment. Following the tournament, McElwee received the selection the NCAAs, announced on March 12. Girardot finished strong in third place.
The fencing team concluded the regular collegiate season with a collective 14-7 record and received a No. 15 ranking in the CollegeFencing360.com Men's Coaches Poll. The Air Force women are ranked No. 20.
2013 All-Region: Individual Men's Epee: James Salem, Nathan Sorensen Women's Epee: Jessica Steuber, Olivia Prosseda Individual Men's Foil: Alex Chiang Women's Foil: Mary McElwee, Madeleine Girardot Individual Men's Saber: Ryan Redhead, Emiliano Kaptain
Source: Ellen McElwee (highlights)