AFA Fencers Earn Gold at New Mexico Open
Sept. 18, 2006
The Air Force Academy fencing team traveled to Santa Fe, N.M., on Sept 16-17 to compete in the 2006 New Mexico Open. The Falcons have always had great results at this tournament and this past weekend was no different. Earning medals for the Falcons were freshman Peter French from Austin, Texas, who took first place in the men's epee event. Senior Jason Stockdale (Lansdowne, Pa.) finished as the bronze medal winner also in epee. Senior Nathan Smith (St. Louis, Mo.) also took home the gold in men's foil. The Falcons' third gold medalist was senior Katherine Gulczynski (Green Bay, Wis.) in the women's sabre category. With a clean sweep in the event, three sophomores also finished in the top four in the women's sabre event: Crystal Yang (Walnut, Calif.) was the runner up, and Angelica Plazas (Bogota, Columbia) finished third followed by Ainsley Allen from Grand Saline, Texas, who finished in fourth place. Tied for third place in the women's epee tournament were senior Lydia Bigelow (Phoenix, Ariz.) and junior Eliza Enyart (Bend, Ore.). In the women's foil category, junior Collette Bannister (Seattle, Wash.) won the bronze medal.
"There were some great bouts on the strips," says team captain Lydia Bigelow. "Especially into the finals, the intensity really kicked in. I think everyone started out a little wary about our minimal practice up until this point. But when it came down to the crunch, everyone put it all out onto the strips and fought hard. You can't ask for anything else."
AFA's other finishers were junior Brynn Thoreson of Littleton, Colo., who took seventh place in women's epee. In women's foil, sophomore Mryamn Ruth (Oklahoma City, Okla.) finished in seventh place. In men's foil, sophomore Chris Pedersen of Fort Collins, Colo., placed seventh. In men's sabre, freshmen Alex Brand and Michael O'Connor finished fifth and sixth, respectively, and senior CJ Baran (Fairfield, Calif.) finished in seventh place.
After the tournament, head coach Abdel Salem said "Santa Fe always takes place in the beginning of our season and is a good measure of where we start at. It is good preparation for the season, and as expected the team performed well. Now we know that we have a lot of work to do so that we can be fully prepared for stronger competition. These good results are encouraging despite the fact that our training schedule has not fully kicked in yet."
In October, the fencing team will host the Falcon Open on Oct. 21-22 at the Air Force Academy.
New Mexico Open - AFA Final Results - Sept. 16-17, 2006