June 1, 2009

Women's Fencing to Welcome Ten Freshman

June 1, 2009

FAIRFIELD, CT - Dr. Thomas Vrabel, head coach of the women's fencing team, announced the incoming class of ten freshmen for this fall. Joining the team will be saber fencers Elena Tringa, Lauren Cebello, Lauren Thoden and Jennifer Schorman, foilists Jayme Smith, Oriana Mayorga, Deanna Stocker and Kaitlyn Poplaski, epeeists Colleen Mason and Brooke Perlee.

"We are very fortunate to have an incoming class that gives us both talent and depth," comments Dr. Vrabel. "With only seven fencers returning from last year's team and with six of them being seniors, it was critical that we were able to get in a strong recruiting class. These athletes will be playing major roles on the team for the next four seasons."

Elena Tringa from Garden City High School (Garden City, NY) brings to the saber squad an impressive resume from both local high school and national competition. Tringa was a three-time Nassau County high school saber champion and was the Nassau County female fencer of the year. She posted a 32-1 record in league competition this past season and helped lead her team to the Nassau County Championship. Tringa is a USFA B rated saberist and earned her rating by making the finals of a USFA Division II national tournament. She fences for the Manhattan Fencing Club and coach is Mish Simshovich.

"Elena is a fantastic athlete with explosive quickness and excellent balance," said Vrabel. "She will be a great counterpart to Krista Bacci this season. I see them challenging each other as the season progresses. They both will be contenders for making the NCAA championships this year".

In addition to Tringa, Lauren Cebello and Lauren Thoden will bring saber expertise from successful high schools careers in New Jersey and Jennifer Schorman will be coming to the team from California. Cebello is a native of Clinton, NJ and has been fencing for over four years. She became the A strip saber fencer at North Hunterdon High School as a sophomore and earned an E rating in the spring of 2008. She tore her ACL at the end of her junior season but came back as a senior to post a 22-9 record her senior year. She fences out of the Mr. Ma USA Club.

Thoden is from West Milford, NJ where she was a four-year varsity letter winner at West Milford High School. She earned the most valuable fencer award on her team both her junior and senior years and was saber team captain as a junior and senior and overall team captain as a senior. Thoden compiled a 90-38 dual meet record over her high school career and is a member of the National Fencing Club.

Schorman is a native of La Canada Flintridge, CA and attended Squaw Valley Academy, where she was a member of the downhill ski team. She has been fencing saber for three years and looks forward to the increased level of competition that she will see at the collegiate level.

"With all of the returning saber fencers being seniors (team captain Krista Bacci, Catie Sagevick, and Courtney Perlee) it is great that these four fencers that will be able to benefit from their interaction with the seniors," said Vrabel. "They are all very athletic and there will be stiff competition for the starting spots as we enter the season. It is great to have the luxury of depth again on the saber squad."

The foil squad will also be benefitting from four new members with the addition of Jayme Smith, Oriana Mayorga, Deanna Stocker and Kaity Poplaski. Jayme Smith (Ridgefield, CT - Ridgefield HS) brings a wealth of local and national experience and accomplishment to the foil squad. Smith was a first team all state Connecticut High School selection in her freshman and sophomore years. She was the Nutmeg State games foil champion in 2008. She has been a C rated foilist for three years and placed fifth at the Div II NAC national competition in Atlanta this past spring. Smith is a member of the Candlewood Fencing Center where she is coached by Alex Fotiev and Andrew Hsieh.

"Jayme is an very smart fencer with a great hand and a strong tactical game," comments Vrabel. "I look forward to her stepping in to the role that Jo Siskidis played for us over past few seasons and expect her to have a very successful transition in to Collegiate fencing."

Deanna Stocker and Oriana Mayorga also had successful high school fencing careers. Stocker was a four-year varsity foilist at Fitch HS in Groton, CT. She was the team captain her senior year and compiled a 19-9 record this past season. Oriana Mayorga is from Yonkers, NY and was the foil captain and A strip fencer at the Masters School where she was an all league selection last year. These three will be joined by Kaitlyn Poplaski from Trumbull HS in Connecticut. She will be new to fencing but has had an extensive athletic career in soccer. Poplaski looks forward to the challenge of becoming proficient in a new sport. These athletes will be joining senior foil squad co captains Casey Zimmermann and Jen Wysocki on the team.

"It is great to have four foilists joining the team this year," said Vrabel. "They will need to jump right in to significant spots in the lineup. I believe that they will be up to the challenge and that the performance of our foil squad will continue to improve."

The epee squad will be gaining two new members with the addition of Colleen Mason and Brooke Perlee. Mason, out of Ledyard, CT, brings extensive experience in foil and epee to the team. She was the team captain at Waterford High School last year and led her foil team to the Eastern Connecticut Conference championship and a third-place finish in the CT state championships. Mason placed 10th and 12th in the last two CT State HS foil championships. She is an E rated foilist and fences at the ICONN Fencing Club where she is coached by Jim Harris.

Perlee is from Selden, NY and captained the Newfield High School Epee squad. She won 73% of her matches during her senior season and was a second team all Suffolk County selection. Her sister, Courtney, has been a starter on the Pioneer saber squad over the past three seasons. Perlee fences at the Mission Fencing Center and is coached by Jennifer Salmon.

"It is great to have Colleen and Brooke join the team this year," said Vrabel. "Both are tall (Mason is 5'10" and Perlee is 5'8"), left handed and will often line up with Ali Roach to give the Pioneers an all lefty epee team. While Colleen had more high school experience in foil, she is well suited for epee in college and I look for her to take over for Mary Dannegger, who graduated this month. Brooke will also be in the running for a starting spot as a freshmen."

This group of outstanding freshmen also bring excellent academic credentials with them to Sacred Heart. "We are indeed fortunate to have this talented group of athletes joining the fencing team," said Vrabel. "They will be the foundation of the program for the next four years. "