Falcons begin fencing season on Sept. 14-15

Sep 6, 2013

The Air Force Falcons are excited to start the fencing season, and Head Coach Abdel Salem is just as excited to start the season. For the senior class of 2014, the only two home events, Nick Toth Open, Sept. 14-15 and Falcon Open, Oct. 19-20, will be their final home Opens. However, the seniors and their teammates have all of 2013 and 2014 to look forward to before graduation.

SEASON OPENERS: The Academy's fencing season opens with the annual Nick Toth Open on Sept. 14-15 in the East Gymnasium. Following the Nick Toth, the team travels to the Amarillo Open, Sept. 28-29. In October, the Falcons host the Falcon Open, Oct. 19-20 and then travel to Santa Fe for the New Mexico Open, Oct. 26-27. November begins the North American Cup (NAC) competitions, starting with the Division I and Juniors in Cleveland, Ohio, Nov. 8-11.

The team will compete in several collegiate competitions, beginning with the Brandeis Invitational, Dec. 8 in Waltham, Mass. The Division I and II NAC is Dec. 13-16, in Dallas, Texas. The 2014 competition begins with the Western Invitational, Jan. 11 at Stanford. The Junior NAC is Jan. 17-20, the site is to be determined (TBD). The Duke Invitational in Durham, N.C., is Feb. 8-9. The Junior Olympics is Feb. 14-17 (TBD).

In March, the NCAA West Regional Championships will be held at Caltech, March 8-9, followed by the NCAA Fencing Championships, March 20-23 (TBD). The NAC Division II and III competitions are March 14-17 the site is also TBD. Finally, the Division I Championships are in Minneapolis, MN, April 11-14, while the USFA Championships (NAC) are scheduled from June 27-30 and July 1-6, TBD.

"I look forward to another new season, said Head Coach Abdel Salem. "Every year brings new excitement and fun to the team as we embark on our journey toward the national championships. Last year we were joined by some wonderful new team members and we opened our new fencing facility. This season we have a new leader, Emerson Woerner who joins Olivia Prosseda as team captains, and we have a new assistant coach, Michael Hall, and our new freshmen class and walk-on team members."



In 2012-13, the team finished 20th in the country, with only two NCAA qualifiers. In his 15 years of coaching at the Academy, Salem has amassed a 252-180 record and has coached nine Air Force fencers to a total of 16 All-American titles.

Fencers to look for in 2013-14: Returning this season are team captains Olivia Prosseda (epee) who is joined by Emerson Woerner (saber). Returning on the men's team is Alexander Chiang (foil). The returning women are Ashley Chung (foil), Rachel Cranfill (foil), Tara Zartman (epee), Allison Egan (saber), Desirae Ionata (saber), and Jessica Steuber (epee). The sophomore class of Madeleine Girardot (foil), Mary McElwee (foil), Matthew Bergstedt (saber), Ryan Redhead (saber), and James Salem (epee) return with a years experience of collegiate fencing. McElwee and Salem were 2013 NCAA competitors. Last season's walk-on fencers returning are Michael Joo, Lauren Brooks, Robert Chado, Rachel Evans, Joshua Hayden and Stephanie Sarabia.

The freshmen that will give the much needed support to the team following the departure of the class of 2013 include: Alisa Chemomashetsev (foil) from Jacksonville, FL, Alexander Elwers (epee) from San Diego, CA, Alyssa Hofilena (saber) from Miller Place, NY, Elias Johnson (epee) from Pleasant View, UT, Alexander Pollack (epee) from Jackson, GA, and Garrett Turley (foil) from Dublin, Ohio. The freshmen will fill the gap left by the departing members of the fencing team. They will be integrated with the walk-ons.

Together, the experienced members, the freshmen and a large group of walk-ons will create a solid fencing team.

WHERE TO FIND US: Weekly releases and schedule updates are posted on the Air Force Academy's web site: www.goairforcefalcons.com. When available, live streaming of the Nick Toth Open and Falcon Open are on YouTube. Fencing updates are also made to the Air Force Fencing Facebook page.

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