2001-02 Fencing Outlook
Sept. 9, 2001
With the new season ahead, the Academy's fencing program is about to benefit from a wealth of experience and leadership.
About The Men's Team
"I am excited about this coming season, we have eight seniors, which offer a wealth of experience and leadership," said head coach Abdel Salem. "This is the most seniors the Falcons have had on their roster in several seasons."
"Our new team captains C2C Elia Burrill and C1C Eric Lathrop are excellent cadets," said Salem. Burrill and Lathrop will bring new energy and ideas to the program. Former team captains C1C Will Gettys and C1C Kristen Wenner have passed the torch of leadership, but Salem expects them and all the other seniors to continue to guide the team.
Coach Salem feels that the Air Force squad is starting to understand what it takes to become great fencers, and they are willing to pay the price.
C2C Weston Kelsey and C1C Will Gettys qualified for the 2001 NCAA. Kelsey and Gettys are the two strongest fencers on the team and will anchor the men's squad.
C2C Anthony Pryor continues to improve, and train hard. He battled a severe illness last season but is expected to contribute a great deal this year.
C3C Luke Chilen is mainly concentrating on academics this season, but is expected to contribute his skills to the team.
Salem feels that C2C Abdulla Javed and C3C Curtis Marshall will be the next surprise for the Falcon team, if not this season then definitely the next.
"C3C Gian-Carlo Rando, said Salem, will hopefully realize the dedication it takes to be a fencer on the varsity team and hopefully will adjust his training accordingly." "He will need to step up the commitment and intensity levels to keep up with Pryor, Marshall, and Javed," added Salem.
"Our epee team will continue to be very strong and with another year of experience under their belts will still be the driving force for the team," said Salem.
Newcomer C4C Ryan Dunn and C2C Chris Jones will compete for the top slot on the team. This will help to bring both of their fencing to new levels. Ryan, while only a freshman, has been fencing for quite some time and will bring experience to the foil team that they desperately need.
"My goal is for Ryan to make the USA Junior Team, he will have a great chance to make it during his freshman campaign," said Salem. The coach will be in touch with Dunn's former coach to help make the transition to the Academy's fencing program smooth and successful. C3C David Gaesor will help the foil and epee teams in organizing practices and drills.
George Dibble on the Academy as a Division I team:
"Since I came to the Academy, I've seen this team evolve into a premier Division I fencing program. This is going to be our best season yet."
Antoine McNeal on the team:
About The Women's Team
Elia Burrill on her team's potential:
"The team this year has excellent potential. What used to be a relatively young and developing team has now become a strong team. I expect improvement in all areas of the team this year and know that the team's hard working attitude will help us get there. Each year I have seen improvements on the team and I am sure there will be even more this year. I'm excited to see what we can do."
Kristen Wenner on the team captains:
"With two great captains this coming year, Elia and Eric, and with the talent and motivation of the team, I'm extremely confident that we will see unparalleled success in both our individual and team endeavors."
C1C Margaret Kucia, C3C Ashley Roell, C2C Alexia Forbes, and C3C Apphia Taylor will be the women's foil team this year. The Academy's women's foil team will not be easy to handle anymore. The coach expects a better performance out of this team.
"Margaret is an expert fencer and works hard, Ashley is aggressive and a good fencer and Apphia and Alexia are not bigginers anymore," commented Salem.
As these three Sabre women continue to improve we have no worry about our sabre women's team. C2C Jamie Rasmussen, C2C Andrea Rix, and C2C Janet Modell have shown continual improvement throughout their time fencing. They have fun, they are tough, and they know what is going on now.
The Academy's fencing program will also benefit from Penn State alumnist Tom Strzalkowski who will join the coaching staff as a volunteer coach.
The coaching staff expects the fencers to try their best in practice and in competition. "We want fencing to be a pleasurable experience for these fine young men and women. A fencing career is a good life experience and the Air Force and the Academy support our fencers all the way," said Salem.