FAIRFIELD, Conn. - Sacred Heart men's fencing team captain Stuart Holmes' perfect 28-0 record in foil competition this past season has earned him the honor of being named the Northeast Fencing Conference Men's Fencer of the Year. He is one of six Sacred Heart men's fencers to earn All-NFC honors.
On the women's side Pioneer foilist and team captain Jayme Smith was named the NFC Women's Fencer of the Year. This is the first time in the 20 year history of the league that both of these awards were won by fencers from the same university.
Sacred Heart had a clean sweep of the foil First Team all-league selections with Stuart Holmes being joined by his brother Andrew Holmes and Alexander Harwood on the NFC First Team foil squad. Next year's team captain Kevin Almerini was also named to the NFC First Team by posting the best winning percentage of any epeeist in the conference (90.6%). Pioneer saber squad captain Thomas Gerrity and epee squad captain Jeremiah German were named to All-NFC Second Team.
"It is quite an accomplishment to have six of our nine starters earn All-League honors", commented head coach Dr. Tom Vrabel. "I know that Stuart had being named the first Sacred Heart NFC Fencer of the Year as one of his goals all season. We knew that it would probably take a perfect conference record to earn this distinction and Stuart simply willed it to happen. Having all three First Team foilists was also very special. It is nice to see that of the four All NFC fencers that will return for next season, none of them will be seniors. I look for us to once again contend for the conference title".
In addition to the honors gained by Pioneer fencers, the SHU coaching staff was named the 2013 NFC Men's Coaching Staff of the Year. The staff consists of Head Coach Vrabel and assistant coaches Matthew Laudicina and Justin Dion. The Pioneers have won the last four NFC Men's Championships and were 40-0 in league play over those four seasons.