McElwee, Ferguson, Brooks, Chung

Oct. 22, 2012

U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. - Four Air Force Academy fencers had a fantastic weekend fencing at the New Mexico Open in Santa Fe, Oct. 20-21. Nathan Sorensen, Mary McElwee, Desirae Ionata and Scott Pippin all won their respective championship titles.

On Sunday, Sorensen, who was 4-2 in the senior mixed epee pools, advanced through to the finals as one powerful force. In each bout, Sorensen swiftly won each bout sometimes claiming his victory within the first three minutes of the first period. His bout wins included a 15-7, 15-9, 15-10, 15-8 and the title bout 15-11 against Victor Vaggo from Swedan.

"Sorensen fenced like a lion," said head coach Abdel Salem. "He demonstrated maturity and leadership as a senior on the team."

In the senior women's foil competition, McElwee won the gold after going 5-1 in pools and advancing to the finals. She received a bye and advanced with wins of 15-1, 15-4 and the winning bout 15-5. She also took second place in the senior mixed foil tournament on Saturday. McElwee earned here D2012 rating in the U.S. Fencing Association (USFA).

"Mary did very well," said Salem. "Her experience in Santa Fe will help as she prepares for the Juniors and World Cup."

On Saturday, AFA's championship winners were Pippin who won the senior mixed saber event and Ionata winning the senior women's saber title.

In pools, Pippin was 3-2. He advanced to the finals after receiving a bye, he then won 15-7, 10-9, 15-6, 15-9, winning the gold medal bout 15-5 against Adam Marcinkowski, who placed second for the Falcons.



Ionata won the gold in Saturday's open women's saber finals; she was 4-2 in pools. She received a bye going into the top four and earned a 15-7, 15-11 victory over her opponents. She earned her E2012 rating in the USFA.

AFA's fantastic four were not the only fencers to post good results. On Saturday, besides Marcinkowski's second-place finish in mixed saber, teammate Matthew Bergstedt tied for third place in saber. In 11th place was Ionata, Allison Egan followed in 13th place, while Vianca Torres took 17th and Stephanie Sarabia finished 19th. In women's saber, Torres followed Ionata in second placed, while Egan and Leila AbdulRazaq tied for third place and Sarabia finished seventh.

In senior women's epee, Olivia Prosseda placed fifth, Jessica Steuber, who earned her E2012 USFA rating, placed seventh, Angelica Phillips placed 10th and Samantha Castanien placed 16th.

In mixed foil, Daniel Johnson, John Scowcroft and Joshua Hayden finished 12th-14th, respectively. Dakota Bottomlee finished in 16th place.

In senior mixed foil, McElwee led with a second-place finish earning her "D" USFA rating. Daniel Johnson placed 12th, John Scowcroft placed 13th, Joshua Hayden placed 14th and Dakota Bottomlee placed 16th.

Sunday's fencers included James Salem who finished 11th in senior mixed epee. Dalton Boatright finished 14th, Andrew Daugherty finished 27th, John Dilorenzo finished 30th, Michael Joo finished 38th and Phillips finished 47th.

Rounding out Sunday's competitions, McElwee placed first, Rachel Ferguson tied for third place, Lauren Brooks placed seventh, and Ashley Chung finished eighth, while Rachel Cranfill and Rachel Zigler placed 11th and 12th, respectively.

Finally, this weekend's competition was significant as most of the team's veteran fencers scored more points in their bouts than in the past, demonstrating maturity and improvement in their competitiveness. The freshmen and walk-on fencers continue to add power to the team.

"I am happy with our freshmen and walk-ons, we are off to a good start with them," said Salem. "This weekend gave us a good idea of what we need to improve on. Our saber teams did alright, or epee teams need to make some adjustments."

Next up for the Falcons, the Falcon Open is Nov. 3-4 at the USAFA Cadet Gymnasium.

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