April 15, 2013
U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. - (April 12-14) Continuing to compete on the national level, Air Force Academy fencers competed in the 2013 Division I National Fencing Championships in Richmond, Va., this past weekend. Sophomore Alexander Chiang (Atlanta, Ga.) finished sixth overall in individual men's foil at the Division I National Championships. Finishing 17th overall was freshman Mary McElwee (San Francisco, Calif.) who had an impressive 4-1 wins in pool in the senior women's foil event.
In Richmond, Chiang had the Academy's men's foil top national finish of the season, as he fought his way to an amazing sixth-place medal in United States Fencing's National Division I Championships, April 13. Chiang defeated his two opponents from Harvard and St. John's, losing only one pool bout to his Penn State opponent. Ranked seventh after pools, Chiang moved through the direct elimination (DE) table to the eights, falling only to two-time Olympian Gerek Meinhardt (9-15).
On Sunday, April 14, McElwee similarly surprised the field with an impressive 4-1 pool wins at the nation's top national senior event, defeating top seeds on her way to DE rounds. There, she met a higher initial seed who held McElwee off to a dead heat 4-4 for the three DE segments, and the match went to overtime, where sudden death was the freshman's elimination. McElwee finished 17th among 37 of the nation's most select qualifiers.
During Friday's (April 12) competition, freshman James Salem (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and senior Nathan Sorensen (Houston, Texas) had a strong day of fencing at the highly competitive men's epee official championship. Fencing epee, both Falcons placed second and fourth, respectively, in pools. Sorensen went 3-2, while Salem scored two victories in pools, one of which was against the number one seed and former Olympian Soren Thompsen.
Air Force's Sorensen was 19th after the pool round, and won his first DE match, until an opponent from New York City put an end to his run. Sorensen finished 25th overall among the high competitive field of 58 epee fencers. Salem came up against a higher seed in the first DE finished 41st overall.
"This was a highly competitive event," said head coach Abdel Salem. "I am proud of how our fencers did this past weekend. They fought hard this year to qualify for the Division I National Championships and once there, they held their own."