Penn State Enters NCAA Fencing Championship Ranked #2
March 23, 2010
University Park, Pa.- With the start of the NCAA Fencing Championship only two days away, the Penn State fencers remained ranked #2 in the final USFCA College Fencing Coaches Poll of the season. Notre Dame stayed at #1 in both the men's and women's rankings.
Despite a second-place finish in the rankings, Penn State enters the NCAA Championship with the qualifying maximum of 12 competitors after strong performances at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Regionals on March 13.
Coach Emmanuil Kaidanov hopes to lead the team to its 12th National Championship win, but realizes that the team faces tough competitors this year.
"We already did a pretty good job by qualifiying 12 people, which is success in itself," Coach Kaidanov said. "Five teams have realistic chances for the trophies and this year's favorite is Notre Dame...St. John's is a strong team, Princeton, Ohio state, which has 11 fencers competing- each a formidable opponent. We have to keep our eyes wide and it should be an Interesting championship."
A comprehensive list of the Penn State fencers who will be competing in the Championship are listed below. The Championship is hosted by Harvard University this season. It begins Thursday, March 25 and concludes on Sunday, March 28.
The final USFCA rankings will be posted below the Championship roster. For results of each night of the NCAA Fencing Championship, please visit gopsusports.com after each day of competition.
Margherita Guzzi Vincenti: Guzzi Vincenti joined the Penn State fencers in January, but did not hesitate to get into the action right away. A native of Milan, Italy, the freshman posted a stellar 33-3 dual record in the epee and qualified for a spot in the National Championship with a strong performance at the NCAA Regionals. Guzzi Vincenti is looking to win her first individual title.
Doris Willette (Lafayette, Calif.): Two-time National Champion and current reigning National Champion in the women's foil, junior captain Willette looks to capture her third National Title. Prior to qualifying to the National Championship with a first-place finish at Regionals this year, Willette dominated her competition with a striking 30-3 dual record. Her leadership and dominance makes her a force to be reckoned with as she tries to tries to defend her third title in just as many tries.
Olga Ostatnigrosh: Foilist Ostatnigrosh transferred to Penn State from California in January, but managed to settle in and ended her season with a 21-18 dual record. The junior's sixth-place finish at Regionals was enough to get an automatic bid for the National Championship.
Caitlin Thompson (Portland, Ore.): Thompson will be making her fourth appearance in the saber at the NCAA Championships after another strong performance at Regionals. Although the senior has yet to win an individual title, she enters the Championship with a 25-12 dual record and much experience.
Olivia Benedek (State College, Pa.): Benedek qualified for her first-ever trip to the NCAA Championship. The sophomore had a 34-20 dual record this season and received an automatic bid after a strong performance at the NCAA Regionals. Performed very well at the regionals
Jessica Russo (Wayne, N.J.): Freshman Russo will be joining the other Penn State fencers as an alternate at this year's NCAA Championship. She posted a strong 42-14 dual record this season, as well as competed in the Junior World Cup in Budapest, Hungary and Künzelsau, Germany.
Brian Heflich (East Setauket, N.Y.): Coming in fifth place at the NCAA Regionals, senior Heflich was given the big for the NCAA Championship ahead of teammate Dettlinger due to his overall consistency throughout the season. Heflich ended the regular season with a 25-15 dual record and has yet to win an individual title in the epee. More consistent
David Willette (Lafayette, Calif.): Following in the footsteps of his sister Doris, David Willette finished first in the men's foil and received an automatic bid to the National Championship this year. The freshman has dominated in dual action, posting an impressive 23-8 record, as well as competed in the Junior World Cup in Budapest, Hungary. Willette will be going for his first ever individual title and hopes his early career success carries over into the Championship.
Miles Chamley-Watson: With a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Regionals, Chamley-Watson will compete in his second National Championship. The sophomore excelled in dual action this season with an outstanding 27-4 record and came in third at the National Championship last season. He hopes to continue his dominance in the foil and win his first individual title.
Daniel Bak (Franklin Lakes, N.J.): After finishing in third place at the NCAA Championship last year, Bak came in first in the men's saber at Regionals and qualified for this year's Championship. The senior finished the season with a 26-8 dual record and looks to end his collegiate fencing career with his first individual title at the Championship this season.
Aleksander Ochocki (Clark, N.J.): Ochocki is the current reigning National Champion in the men's saber. The sophomore posted a hard-earned 26-11 dual record this season and looks to win his second consecutive title. Ochocki also competed in the Junior World Cup in Budapest, Hungary and Künzelsau, Germany earlier in the season.
Michael El-Saleh (Houston, Tex.): El-Saleh is slotted as an alternate in the foil for this year's NCAA Championship. The sophomore did consistently well this season, posting a 34-5 record. This is his second trip to the National Championship.
Daniel Gomez Tanamachi (Mexico City, Mexico): Freshman Gomez Tanamachi will be making his first appearance at the NCAA Championship as an alternate in the men's foil. He finished his first year of collegiate action with a 26-11 dual record and hopes for the chance to compete for his first individual title.
Samuel Perkins (Petaluma, Calif.): Perkins looks at another shot to win his first individual title with an alternate spot on the NCAA Championship roster. The junior went 27-3 in dual action this season.
USFCA Rankings (previous rank is listed next to each team).