Fencers to open season hosting Nick Toth Open
The Air Force Academy fencing team will host its annual Nick Toth Open, Sept. 24-26 at the Cadet Gymnasium. This event is open to the public, starts at 10 a.m. Team captains seniors Elizabeth Jaszezak, Sam Bartron and Jackson Ranes will lead this year's teams, and all three have excellent credentials to lead the team.
In 2005, Jaszezak finished third in the women's foil division at the Nick Toth Open. She also had a 24th-place finish in the mixed competition. Bartron was the '05 men's sabre champion, while Ranes tied for third place in mixed epee. Bartron is also a Mountain West Conference Scholar-Athlete for 2004-05. Ranes was one of four Academy fencers to compete in the 2005 Summer Nationals taking the four-member team to a fourth-place finish. Jaszezak competed at the North American Cup in Denver, March 2005, finishing 22nd in Division III. She also placed fifth at the Military Championships and finished 11th at the New Mexico Open.
In 2005-06, the women's epee team returns everyone from last year, led by sophomore Eliza Enyart, who placed 18th at the NCAA Championships. Charity Day and Brynn Thoreson return, and Lydia Bigelow comes back to epee after a short stint in foil.
The women's sabre team returns senior Ali Freiman along with several underclassmen that will battle for the remaining traveling spots. The women's foil team will feature several top younger athletes as they do battle to represent the Academy.
The men's epee team returns a very strong team from, including senior Tim French, junior Jason Stockdale, and sophomore Adam Schenk, including Ranes. French and Stockdale competed at the NCAA Championships last year, placing 14th and 13th, respectively. Air Force also has several good recruits, including Kai Anthony, Dale Hargis, and Joseph Eastman.
"The Air Force Fighting Falcon fencing team returns to the strip stocked full of talent and experience, according to French. "This year we are fielding a team which can send at least four fencers to the Nationals, and who will compete to be All-Americans," added Ranes.
Men's foil returns junior Nate Smith and senior Kent Morgan, and adds recruits David Fang and Trent Atwood. Junior Sean Andrews has converted from epee to foil to ensure a strong, experienced team. Bartron leads the men's sabre team joined by junior CJ Baran and two recruits, Justin Gebhardt and Nick Bente.
As Air Force returns several of its top fencers to the strip head coach Abdel Salem is very excited about this year's teams along with the addition of several top recruits and a good junior varsity team to round out the rosters. The coaching staff also returns assistant coach Bob Taylor and volunteer coach Tom Strzalkowski, and with the addition of assistant coach Adam Skarbonkiewicz and volunteer coach Captain Brian Banas, this year's team is slated to have a very successful season.
Following the Nick Toth Open, the Falcons will compete in October at the NAC Division II/III, Oct. 7-10 at Miami-Date Fair Expo Center, Miami, Fla., and hosts the Falcon Open, Oct. 29-30 at Cadet Gymnasium.