COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Sacred Heart fencing team posted its highest-ever team finish at the NCAA Fencing Championships on the final day of competition Sunday at Ohio State, placing 11th in the team competition. The Pioneers' finish bests their 13th place in 2013. Juniors Andrew Holmes (Centereach, N.Y.) and Jonathan Jacovino (Brownfield, Me.) both finished 11th in their respective events to earn Third-Team All-American honors.
"This was a great result for these amazing athletes and our program", said head coach Dr. Thomas Vrabel. "All three weapons in the men's events were very competitive this year and I am very pleased at how our fencers performed. There are no easy outs in this competition and the way that Jon, Andrew and Devon fenced over the two days of competition was a testament to their hard work and dedication to the sport and to their team."
Holmes went 5-3 in the final two rounds of the foil competition to go 12-11 in the round robin. The junior beat Princeton's Michael Dudley and Rodney Chen, Penn State's Nobuo Bravo, and Harrison Bergman and Adam Mathieu of Columbia. His finish is the highest for a Sacred Heart foil fencer at the NCAAs in program history.
Jacovino tied the best finish by a Sacred Heart epee fencer in the NCAA Tournament with his 11th-place result, going 12-11 over the two days of the men's competition. He tied Justin Dion's place in 2011. Just like Holmes, Jacovino was 5-3 on Sunday by defeating Penn's Royce Shipp, Penn State's Yasser Mahmoud, Alex House of Princeton, Simon Jones of Brown, and Stanford's Paul Riviere. Devon Clark (Teaneck, N.J.) finished one bout behind Jacovino with a two-day record of 11-12, putting him in 16th. Clark was also 5-3 on the day with wins over Shipp, Mahmoud, Joseph Rafidi of MIT, and Stanford's Riviere and Jake Harbour.
"The second day of competition is pressure packed and for all three of them to go 5-3 today was impressive," added Vrabel. "We were so close to having all three of our men earn All-American honors, with Devon only one win away from that elite result. They knew that we were in a race with Yale for eleventh place in the championship and I think that it was an added incentive to fence not only for themselves but for the program as well. I just can't say enough about how both the men's and women's teams performed this year. Two All Americans, eleventh at the NCAAs, Men and Womens NFC Championships, eight All-NFC athletes, Women's New England Intercollegiate Tounament Champions, two New England Individual Champions – the results speak for themselves."
The Pioneers won 50 bouts over the four days of the NCAA Fencing Championship for their highest finish ever, 11th. Sacred Heart finished with four more bout wins than Yale, who finished 12th. Duke was 10th with 62.