Sept. 30, 2003
2003-04 Fencing Outlook
Head coach Abdel Salem had a lot to be proud of when it came to last year's team after finishing a successful 2002-03 season.
The Falcons completed the regular season with an 11-3 men's record, and a 9-5 women's overall record. Air Force had six fencers compete in the NCAA meet, which was held at the Academy in March 2003. The six qualified at the Western Regional Championships in San Diego. Both the men and women finished first in the region, with Seth Kelsey, Elia Burrill, Andrea Rix, Tim French, Marisa Romero and Caitlin Harris all qualifying in their respective weapons.
Returning in 2003-04 are this year's team captains, seniors Apphia Taylor, foil, Sean Blas, sabre, and Curtis Marshall, epee. Salem will be expecting the seniors to provide the military and athletic leadership to the team both on and off the fencing strip.
Women's Sabre - The women's sabre team had a strong finish, capturing the title in the 2003 Western Region meet and qualifying two saberists for the NCAA meet (Andrea Rix, class of 2003, and Marisa Romero). Junior Marisa Romero and sophomores Alison Freiman, Amber Park and Erin Shaw will be called upon to lead the sabre team this season.
Women's Foil - Taylor will lead the women's team while junior Ebony Cook, sophomores Natalie Chounet and Eliza Gondek will be called upon to help provide experience to this year's fencers.
Women's Epee - The epee team will consist of two of sophomores, Katharine Strickland and Elizabeth Jaszczak and freshman walk-ons.
Men's Foil - Newcomers Nathaniel Smith, Kent Morgan, Carl Chen, Julio Gamez and Ryan Sealy make up the nucleus of the foil team.
Men's Epee - Last year's team crowned two All-Americans, Kelsey and Tim French. Kelsey, who graduated in 2003, was the national champion in epee while French finished eighth. The team will benefit from a wealth of experience with the return of French, Marshall, Serge Mettes, Gian-Carlo Rando. Joining the team is freshman Jason Stockdale.
The Air Force fencers will have to make great strides this season if they want to repeat last year's success. Salem will be working hard to combine the experience of his returning fencers with the inexperienced newcomers.
The Falcons will open the season with the Nick Toth Open, Sept. 27-28. In November, Air Force will hold the Falcon Invitational, Nov. 22-23. This year, Air Force will have the home team advantage in the Western Region when it hosts the meet March 13, 2004. Brandeis University will host the NCAA national competition March 25-28.