(Northhampton, MA) - The Big One Individual Collegiate Fencing Tournament was held on Saturday, November 6th at Smith College. The event had 485 fencers from 25 schools competing. The Pioneer Women had their best day ever at this event, winning five medals and being led by Elena Tringa's silver medal in saber.
In one of the first events of the day, Elena Tringa led the Pioneer saber squad to a strong finish with her silver medal. Tringa went 6-0 in the preliminary round and seeded fifth into direct elimination. She moved confidently through the tableau to the championship match, defeating Chelsea Rosenbauer of Boston College 15-11 in the semis. Her magical run ended with a 15-6 lost to Robin Shin from MIT. Junior squad captain Lauren Cebello also had a great day, beating Emily Smith of Brandeis 15-9 to make the round of 16. Unfortunately the luck of the draw had her come up against her teammate Tringa where she lost 15-5. Other Pioneer results in saber include a 32nd place finish from sophomore Gabby Garofano and a 33rd place from junior Brooke Perlee. "We are very happy to have Elena Tringa back and healthy this season", comments head coach Dr. Tom Vrabel. "She is an amazing athlete and I look for Elena to once again be in contention for going to the NCAA Championships in San Antonio. Cebello is in top form and the performances of Garofano and Perlee were very pleasant surprises."
In the foil competiton, junior team captain Jayme Smith again seeded first after the preliminary round of foil out of 87 competitors. Smith cruised in to the medal round, where she defeated Brown's Hannah Kolus to make the semi finals. Unfortunately, Smith lost to another Brown fencer and eventual tournament champion Kathryn Hawrot in the semis. This is a nice improvement over Smith's fifth place finish last year. Joining Smith on the medal podium was freshman Aileen Trella, who placed eighth. She made the quarterfinals by defeating Rutgers' Brenda Sorgi 15-9. In addition to Smith and Trella, freshmen Tess Kallmeyer, Kristin Fischbach and Melissa Tsiames placed 22nd, 23rd, and 27th respectively. "This was a fantastic result for our young foil squad", said Dr. Vrabel. "We expected Smith to make the top four and we knew that our freshmen were talented, but until you hit real competition you don't quite know what to expect. Trella was fantastic and has incredible determination to go with her athleticism. She was determined to earn a medal today. We expected a strong day from Kallmeyer but to have Fischbach and Tsiames finish right with her was a very pleasant surprise. This is the first time that we have a strong level of talent in all three foil slots."
Junior squad captain Colleen Mason led the epee squad to its best finish ever at the Big One. Mason went 6-0 in the preliminary round and seeded 4th going in to the direct elimination bouts. Incredibly, four Pioneers (Mason, sophomore Natalie Rossetti, and freshmen Megan Floyd and Nicole Price made it to the round of 16. Unfortunately, Mason and Rossetti had to square off in this round and Mason won 15-11 to advance. Megan Floyd also advanced to the medal round with a 15-13 win over Flora Lang from Tufts. Price was defeated by the eventual tournament champion Corey Abbe from Brown. In the quarterfinal round the Pioneers' run came to an end with Mason losing to Brown's Laney Caldwell 15-11 and Floyd to Sarah Alkilany from MIT 15-10. Mason finished in fifth place with Floyd eighth, Price tenth, Rossetti 12th and Senior Sara Graziosi 37th.
"We have been able to build a great epee squad this year", comments Dr. Vrabel. "We knew that Mason would continue to be a solid performer. The addition of Megan Floyd and the freshman foilists have allowed us to move Natalie Rossetti to epee. This gives us three athletic epeeists that are at least 5'10" tall. The emergence of Nikki Price today was very exciting. It is nice to see how everything is coming together for her."
The Pioneers had five medalists today and eight fencers make it to the round of 16. This is the best overall performance at the Big One for Sacred Heart University. Two seasons ago the pioneers were third in the conference. They lost six starters from that squad last season. With this year's freshmen and the return of Elena Tringa, the team again will be in contention in the Northeast Fencing Conference race.
The Pioneer's are back in action at Vassar College on Sunday, Nov 13, where they will fence Vassar, Hunter , Cornell, Yeshiva, Haverford, CCNY, Queens, and Stevens Institute of Technology.