June 1, 2009
FAIRFIELD, CT - Dr. Thomas Vrabel, head coach of the men's fencing team, announced the incoming class of seven freshmen for this fall. Joining the team will be foilists Igor Krivenko, Jared Rebeor, Stuart Holmes, Michael Huang and Victor Nieto, epeeist Jeremiah German and saberist Ryan O'Halloran.
"We are very fortunate to have such a talented incoming class, especially in foil," comments Dr. Vrabel. "This group of freshmen will strengthen the team across the board and I look for these fencers to have an immediate impact on our starting lineup."
Igor Krivenko from Ossining NY leads the group of foilists. Krivenko has already had a notable national international career. He is currently ranked in the top fifteen junior foilist in the US and is in the top 30 in the Division I national point standings. He won the bronze medal at a Junior World Cup in Madrid, Spain last season and recently placed 12 at the USFA Div I NAC foil competition held last month in Portland Oregon.
Krivenko also placed fifth at the Junior National Championship last summer in San Jose, CA and placed 10th at the 2009 National Junior Olympic Foil Championship which was held last February in Albequerque, New Mexico. Krivenko, who has been an A rated foilist for several years, recently won the Silver medal at the USFA North North Atlantic Sectional Championships. He will be competing at this summer's USFA National championships in the Division I, Division IA, and Junior Competitions. Krivenko is coached by his uncle Slava Grigoriev at the Fencing Academy of Westchester.
"Igor is one of the truly elite foilists that is entering college fencing this year," said Vrabel. "He has exceptional quickness and excellent technical skills but I believe that it is his intense focus and mental toughness that really makes Krivenko an exceptional foil fencer. With the international success that he has amassed I see Igor being a contender for All American honors as a freshmen. When you team Igor up with the other foilists in this recruiting class, we will have a foil squad equal to any in the Northeast conference and most that we will compete against this season."
Jared Rebeor is another USFA A rated New York foil fencer that will be joining the team this fall. In addition to be an accomplished fencer. Rebeor, who is from Coeyman's Hollow, NY holds a USFA A rating in foil and a B rating in epee. Jared, who is 6'4", is also an accomplished basketball player and was the captain of his basketball team at Loudonville Christian Academy, where he was an all league forward.
A few of Rebeor's fencing accomplishments include placing third at this year's USFA North Atlantic Junior Sectional Championship, 3rd place in the open division at last year's Pomme De Terre tournament in metro Boston and an 11th place finish at the 2008 cadet Junior Olympics Championship. Rebeor fences at the Gristmeill Fencing Academy where he is coached by former US National Team member Hope Konecny.
"We are very excited to have Jared joining the team this fall," says Dr. Vrabel. "Jared is an exceptional athlete and his height will give him a real advantage in foil. His epee experience will also give the epee fencer another quality person to work with and I see Jared working out quite a bit with the epee squad. With his basketball experience, he has already showed himself to be a leader in a team environment. Now that he will be concentrating on solely on fencing I see his game getting even better. Now my challenge will be to hide him from Coach Bike and the basketball program!"
The final New York based foilist that will be joining the team this season is Stuart Holmes from Centereach. Holmes starred at Centereach High School where he compiled an impressive 56-7 record during his senior year. He was last year's Suffolk County high school foil champion and named to the first team all Suffolk County and first team All Long Island fencing teams. Holmes currently holds a USFA C rating in foil and he has won or medaled in many USFA competitions in New York and Connecticut. He fences out of Mission Fencing Center where he is coached by Jennifer Salmon.
"Stuart is very athletic with great upside potential," comments Dr. Vrabel. "He is a relative newcomer to the sport and his senior year accomplishments were very impressive. I expect Stuart to be a great addition to the foil squad."
In addition to the local talent from New York, the foils squad will also be adding very strong foil fencers from Texas and California. Victor Nieto is from The Woodlands, TX (Woodlands College Park HS) and has been an USFA B rated foilist since 2007. He has been fencing for several years and he was ranked in the top 60 foilists in the country in the 14-year old age bracket earlier in his career. He has qualified for the National Junior Olympics Championships from 2006 through 2008. Nieto fences at the Bayou City Fencing Academy.
Michael Huang will join the team from Menlo Park, CA. Though he has only been fencing for two years, he earned his USFA B foil rating by placing third at the NAC Division II competition held in Atlanta earlier this year. Michael fences out of the California Fencing Academy where he is coached by Dan Tibbetts.
"When I first took over the fencing program at SHU the team that year had 3 C rated fencers on the roster. This year the foils squad alone will have 2 As, 4 Bs and 3 Cs in the ranks. We have the talent on this squad to rival anyone in our league and most in the country. The key will be to see how quickly the freshmen can adjust to collegiate competition."
The foil squad returns all members from last year's roster, including junior team captain Jim Roberts, senior three year starter Dan Convery-Zupan, juniors Will Puglisi and Nick Bentley and sophomores Tim Pak and Aaron Rauth. Competition for positions on the travel squad will indeed be spirited for the men's foilists this season.
In addition to the new foil fencers, the team also welcomes A rated Jeremiah German to the epee squad. German hails from Pittsburgh, PA and is a graduate of North Allegheny High School. He stands 6'6" and has been fencing for six years and is a member of the FIA club in Pittsburgh where he is coached by Frank Foley. German earned his A rating by placing eighth at the 2008 Junior Olympics National Championship.
Other notable performances include placing 7th and 5th at the Penn State Opens in 2006 and 2008 respectively. In 2008, Jeremiah was rated among the top 35 cadet epee fencers in the country. German joins a SHU epee program that returns all fencers from last year's Northeast Fencing Conference Epee Championship squad.
"Jeremiah brings another strong epeeist to our roster," says Vrabel. "His height will be a definite asset for us and he will be a great compliment to 6'4" sophomore Justin Dion. Jeremiah has excelled at the national level and will bring a new dimension to our epee arsenal."
Just like foil, the team returns all of its epee squad from last year, including Dion, Dee, junior Nate Quigley, and sophomores Nico Negron and Charles Schneider. The team will also welcome to the active roster B rated sophomore Travis Pereira. "This squad will give us a lot of flexibility", said Vrabel. "Dion and German bring height, Dion and Quigley are lefties, Dee and Pereira bring excellent quickness and Quigley and Negron bring power games to the equation. This season we will have the talent to match up with whatever styles our opponents send up against us.
The saber squad will also welcome Ryan O'Halloran from Garden City, NY. Last season O'Halloran placed second in the Nassau County High School Championship. He will be joining several other Garden City saber fencers at SHU that include Junior Mike DeRose on the men's team and senior Catie Sagevick and freshman Elena Tringa on the women's team.
"Ryan will bring added depth to the saber squad and will have an excellent opportunity to make an impact next season," said Vrabel. "The saber squad will be young but it is very talented. Consistency will be the key to success in saber for us next season."
In addition to being very talented athletes, the seven incoming freshmen will be bringing with them impressive academic credentials. "Both in the classroom and on the fencing strip, this recruiting class should be exceptional," said Vrabel. "This will be a very exciting year for Sacred Heart men's fencing"