Cambridge, MA - All-American Ruth Schneider '06 took her third straight women's epee title at the 2005 New England Intercollegiate Fencing Conference Championships, held February 19 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Brown's remaining medals both bronze were won in the two individual sabre events. Charlotte Gartenberg claimed third place in women's sabre while Dan Mahoney '07 took third in men's sabre.
Overall, Brown preformed well at the event, taking third place in the six-weapon team rankings behind MIT and Boston College. The Brown men finished third out of 11 schools and the women tool fourth out of 13 schools.
The men's sabre squad crushed their opponents to take the gold in their event, sweeping eight schools during the day.
Meanwhile, Schneider led the women's epee squad to another strong performance a first-place tie with Boston College.
Brown's men's foil squad took 5th place at the Championships and the men's epee squad finished 6th.
Both the Brown women's foil and sabre squads ended the day in 7th.
Sisters Courtney and Kelley Hurley of San Antonio finished 1-2 at the U.S. Junior Olympics in the under-20 women's epee competition and secured spots on the U.S. roster for the World Junior Championships, scheduled March 23-30 in Linz, Austria.
A spokeswoman at U.S. Fencing said Courtney Hurley, age 14, and Kelley Hurley, 16, students at Warren High School, are among 28 athletes from the United States to qualify for the world junior competition.
By Michael E. Dukes February 25, 2005 Army News Service, 2/25/05
Paralympics fencers Mario Rodriguez and Gary VanDerWege demonstrate the intensity of wheelchair fencing at Walter Reed Army Medical Center Feb. 17. Photo by Michael E. Dukes
Sounds of clashing sabers and foils echoed in Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s Wagner Sports Center Feb. 17 during a unique therapy clinic for service members recovering from war wounds here.
A clinic — sponsored by the U.S. Paralympics and with cooperation from Walter Reed’s Moral, Welfare and Recreation office, and Occupational Therapy Clinic — introduced wheelchair fencing to Walter Reed patients.
Most of the patients were at a loss for words when they first walked into the gym and saw two champion Paralympic fencers, Mario Rodriguez and Gary Vanderwege, feverishly thrusting and parrying foils and epees back and forth while sitting in wheelchairs.
The fencers sat in low-back sports wheelchairs that offered maximum maneuverability and stability. The chairs where clamped into a special floor bracket to hold them in place at just over an extended foil length apart.
While gripping a rail across the back of the chair, the fencers bucked the chairs back and forth, leaning into and away from attacks against their opponent. In a matter of split seconds, attacks and counterattacks were waged. Sometimes the defending parry would spare a fencer by mere fractions of an inch.
While dueling with foils or epees, fencers must successfully touch their opponent with the tip of their weapons to register a hit. When armed with sabers, a successful slash on an opponent’s target area is all that is needed.
An electronic signal box lights up when a successful hit is registered, but many times, opposing hits are so close together that a judge will call the first hit and award a point to the appropriate person.
When asked if they would try the sport during the clinic, most of patients answered quickly, “No.” Whether they weren’t confident they could do it or were still perplexed with the possibilities, they seemed reluctant to “step up” and try it.
Having been in their position, Vanderwege wasn’t about to take no for an answer. He seemed to believe the Soldiers were up to the task and that they would enjoy the experience.
Despite saying earlier that he didn’t think fencing was for him, Sgt. 1st Class Denis Viau, a Soldier wounded in Iraq, allowed Vanderwege to help him don a protective fencing coat. He then wheeled over to the sparring area, hopped into one of the fencing wheelchairs, and put on a facemask. James C. Murray handed him a weapon and instructed him on the basics.
“The sport is good for a person new to the chair because the participants are stationary,” said Murray, a fencing coach for the U.S. Paralympic team and the Johns Hopkins University Women’s Fencing Team.
“The thrust, parry and feign are similar to Army tactics,” he added.
After several minutes of clumsily attacking and dodging his opponent, Viau began to get the hang of it and started scoring points against him. When the bout was over and he removed his facemask, Viau had a look of renewed confidence and a slight smile on his face.
“I thought it was good — interesting — and something else other amps or disabled people can do,” Viau said, though he admitted the sport wasn’t for him. He said that he wants to return to his duty station at Fort Lewis, Wash., where he hopes to continue serving in the 1st Striker Brigade.
John F. Register, a U.S. Paralympic athlete and former Soldier who served in Iraq said to the audience, “The only thing that limits me or holds me back is my mind. Not this …” He then reached down lifted his pant leg up to show his C-leg prosthetic.
The Paralympic Games is the second largest sporting event in the world — second to the Olympic Games — showcasing the talents of over 4,000 elite athletes with physical disabilities from over 130 countries.
Athletes compete in around 500 medal events in 18 sports. They include: archery, athletics, boccia, cycling, equestrian, goalball, judo, powerlifting, sailing, shooting, soccer, swimming, table tennis, volleyball, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair fencing, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis.
The U.S. Paralympics is a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee and is dedicated to becoming the world leader in the Paralympic sports movement and promoting excellence in the lives of all persons with physical disabilities.
VICTORVILLE, CA — They have not yet mastered the swashbuckling flair of Errol Flynn.
But some High Desert youths are getting closer.
"Sometimes I feel like Peter Pan," Alex Torsey, 8, of Victorville said.
Torsey is one of a number of children ages 6 to 13 learning the art of fencing from former Guatemala Fencing National Champion Jose R. Guerra at the Hook Community Center in Victorville.
"The sport is my love," Guerra said. "Now I am able to share it with a new (generation)."
Guerra said the program is especially important to him because the cost of the sport can be prohibitive. With the costs of fencing equipment and safety gear running anywhere from $500 to $1,000, only upper middle class families can generally afford it.
But Guerra brings the traditionally blue-blooded pastime to the red-blooded American kids of the Victor Valley by supplying everything — including the equipment — to his students.
"Many kids aren't able to come to the big city or afford it," Guerra said. "My goal is to bring the sport everywhere."
Young Alex is a newcomer to the class, just over a month into it but said he loves everything about the sport.
"It's exercise but it's fun," Alex said.
He said he learned about the sport through some of his favorite movies like "Parent Trap 2" and became excited about learning it after his mom, Anita, saw the program was being offered at the community center on the back of a school lunch menu at the Academy of Academic Excellence.
"We were so excited when they called and told us he was going to take the class," said Joan Torsey, Alex's grandmother who is visiting from Seattle. "Now today we get to see him in action."
Guerra said the sport offers a lot to young children including the development of concentration, flexibility, balance and self-esteem.
"Children benefit so much from this and I love watching them learn and get excited about this sport," Guerra said. "I feel like this is what I was meant to be doing."
There are two fencing classes offered every Saturday at Hook Community Center, one for ages 6 to 13, the other for ages 14 and up every Saturday. The cost is $60 a month. To sign-up, call ***-****.
INDIANAPOLIS -- The NCAA Men’s and Women’s Fencing Committee announced today the field of 144 competitors who will participate in the 2005 National Collegiate Men’s and Women’s Fencing Championships.
Rice University and the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority will host the championships at the George R. Brown Convention Center, March 17-20, in Houston, Texas.
The National Collegiate Men’s and Women’s Fencing Championships include individual events in each of the six weapons (women’s foil, women’s epee, women’s sabre, men’s foil, men’s epee, men’s sabre).
Fencers will compete in a round-robin of 24 fencers in five-touch bouts. After the round-robin, the top four fencers in each event will fence direct elimination 15-touch bouts for first, second, third and fourth place. Absolute ties for the seeding will be broken as follows: for positions one through three, by a coin toss; for position four, by a fence-off.
An institution’s place finish in the championships will be based on points earned by each individual. A team will be awarded one point for each victory by its student-athletes for the duration of the championships.
En guard! Junior Will Krupecki (left) and first year Matt Bush engage in combat, displaying their fencing skills in the mailroom during last Saturday's Alcohol-Free Week lock-in.
There's something about sword fighting that is extremely enthralling to the average viewer. Whether it appears in an old, low-budget Kung Foo movie, or even in Jerry Bruckheimer's recent blockbuster "Pirates of the Caribbean," audiences flock to swashbuckling action.
This interest in swordplay sparked the creation of Ripon's Fencing Club in 1982. Twenty-three years later, the club is still fencing twice weekly, though now it's more for fun than competition.
Junior Will Krupecki, president of the fencing club, reveals that it was his child-like fascination with sword fighting that drew him to the sport. "I was always interested in swordplay, and my dad had an old foil from college in the garage. I found it and he taught me the basics of footwork," he says. "I jumped at the opportunity to learn more here."
Krupecki reveals that he wanted others to experience the joy he finds in fencing, which is why the club emphasizes fun as much as technique. "The fencing club is a meeting for fencing enthusiasts to have fun, joke around, and most importantly, to improve our skills at fencing," he says.
Vice President Tom Hanlon, a junior, echoes Krupecki's sentiment, calling the club "a hoot and a holler."
Krupecki adds that the fencing club is not limited to those actively involved in the sport. "Anyone who walks in is welcome," he says. "We sometimes are teaching people."
The fencing club doesn't like asking for large amounts of money, considering their club membership rests at about seven people. "It's hard to ask for money if we don't have a big group," says club advisor David Scott. "Equipment is expensive [though]."
Scott created the fencing club in 1982 at the request of a student. He says, "There was a student on campus who wanted to fence, and he knew that I fenced, so that started the fencing club."
In the 1990's, inconsistent membership in the club caused Scott to create a gym class to teach fencing. Scott reveals that people would join and learn how to fence, and by the next semester, the members would die out, and more people would show up and want to learn. Scott believed creating a class would alleviate this problem. He says, "As a class people can't dwindle down."
Ripon's fencing club was actually competitive in its earlier days, and bragged of an impressive run. In 1985, two students placed in two separate categories in national competition. In that same season, two students also qualified for the junior Olympics, one as a competitor and the other as an alternate. Scott recalls the golden days, saying, "Ripon held one to three tournaments a year here."
Looking to the future, Krupecki would like to return the club to that level of excellence and competition.
"I'd like for it to one day become an official sport here again," he says. "[But] for now, we are just having fun and getting to the point of having equipment and members who love the sport."
The fencing club generally meets in the Storzer Dance studio Sundays from 2 to 4 p.m. and Wednesdays from 7 to 8 p.m.
Fencers from the San Marcos based All-Texas Athletic Center (ATAC) dominated the ranks of the final eight in the Open Epee competition at the Burt Barker Memorial held at the Aqua Sports Center at Texas State University on March 5 and 6.
ATAC, known for its strength as an Epee club, showed that strength again by taking the top three medals in that event.
Fencing competitions consist of an initial round of pools where each fencer goes round robin against all the other fencers in their pool to determine their seeding for the direct elimination table.
ATAC fencers Robert Reed, Kyle Maysel, and Edward Hurme all went undefeated in their pools and were seeded first, second and third in the 15-touch direct elimination bouts that followed. All three went undefeated through the entire competition until Maysel was finally bested by Hurme in the Bronze Bout. Hurme then advanced to be finally beaten by Reed in the Gold Bout by a score of 14-13 when regulation time expired.
ATAC fencers Eperanza Barrera and Derrek White also placed fifth and eighth in the Epee event.
Emilio Ybarra of the Texas Fencing Academy in Austin won the Open Sabre event beating Terry Kilpatrick, fencing without club affiliation, by a score of 15-6. Jordana Mahran, a student at Texas State, took third place.
Texas Fencing Academy fencers Jonathan Parker and Kevin Nadeau placed first and second after a 15-11 final bout in the Open Foil event on Sunday, followed by Jose Sanchez from the San Antonio Sports Federation who took the Bronze.
Texas Fencing Academy won the three-person round robin Team Foil event on Sunday by beating Salle Pouj of San Antonio by a score of 45-37. The San Antonio Sports Foundation team took third place.
Kryczalo, the three-time defending NCAA champion in the women's foil, is a long way from her native city of Gdansk, Poland, where she started fencing in the fifth grade. She started competing for Poland's junior national team in 1995, where current Notre Dame head coach Janusz Bednarski discovered her during the Junior World Championships in Budapest. Bednarski offered Kryczalo a scholarship, but she originally declined.
"I hadn't looked into the possibility of studying abroad," said Kryczalo. "But then he sent me some information about the school, and also I knew his son Andrzej, who I met in Poland at fencing camp, and he (Andrzej) advised me to think about it."
Kryczalo finally decided to start a new journey -- one that would take her to South Bend, Indiana.
"I got very tired of fencing in Poland, and I just felt like I wanted to try something else, and this was a really good chance at a really good adventure," said Kryczalo. "So, after a few months I changed my mind and decided to come."
Luckily, Kryczalo had already visited the Notre Dame campus, when it hosted the Junior World Championships in 2000.
"I saw it much differently then than now, said Kryczalo. "Everything was so big for me, and I have such a different impression than now. When I came, I still didn't know what to expect in the academic sense, because there's a different way of teaching, but at least I saw the place."
Kryczalo believes her fencing style has changed over the 12 years she's been competing, but says she never gets bored with the sport.
"As I've grown up, experiencing different things, it's always adjusted to me," said Kryczalo. "There's a big difference in the way I'm fencing between when I came to Notre Dame and now. Fencing is not only a physical sport, but it's also a mental and psychological sport, so we have to be very strong in the psychological sense. We have to think a lot and plan. It's never boring, because it's never the same."
Kryczalo will vie for her fourth NCAA championship in the women's foil at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas on March 17-20. She would be only the third fencer to capture four straight NCAA titles, and only the 32nd student-athlete in any NCAA sport to win a championship in the same event four times.
"My biggest dream is to win the fourth time," said Kryczalo. "I can see myself crying if I do that. I know it's really hard, so I'm trying to do as much as I can to prepare myself. I would also love for my team to win, because we won my sophomore year. We still have a chance to win this year, but it's really hard."
In addition to Kryczalo, Notre Dame qualified 10 fencers for the 2005 NCAA Championships. The Irish boasts the No. 1 women's team in the USFCA poll, while the men's squad is ranked fourth. Notre Dame won the 2003 NCAA title, but finished third in the 2004 standings after champion Ohio State and second-place Penn State.
Joining Kryczalo in the women's foil will be Andrea Ament, who finished second in 2002 and 2004, and third in 2003. Valerie Providezna, the 2004 NCAA champion in the sabre, also returns, while 2002 winner in the women's epee, Kerry Walton rounds out the squad.
For the Irish men, thee-time All-American in the epee, Michal Sobjeraj will try to improve on last year's third place finish. Patrick Ghattas and Matt Searns, who placed 10th and 14th respectively, are returning to compete in the men's sabre.
St. John's qualified the maximum of 12 fencers, while Ohio State and Penn State both qualified 11. St. John's (2001), Penn State (2002), Notre Dame (2003) and Ohio State (2004) have won the last four NCAA team titles
BALTIMORE, March 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Born in West Berlin, J. Christoph Amberger began fencing in 1984 when he was a 21-year-old exchange student at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. But his love for fencing can be traced back to his childhood. As a young boy, Mr. Amberger would turn sticks or dowels, even long strips of linoleum remnants, into swords. Christoph no longer uses these items as he has quite an extensive collection of swords. In fact, he is one of the foremost experts on Western sword fighting systems. He has served as consultant to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Discovery Channel's documentary series "Deadly Duels." He's also the author of the book "The Secret History of the Sword," first published in 1996 and republished in 1999. Besides being an expert on the sword, Mr. Amberger is an avid fencer and bears the scars to prove it. "My left cheek and left temple look like they have been gone over with a steel comb," says Amberger. Christoph also studied at the Freie Universitat Berlin and the Georg-August-Universitat Gottingen. After becoming a member of the Corps Normannia Berlin and the Corps Hannovera Gottingen - two of the most respected dueling fraternities in Germany - Christoph fought the requisite ritualistic Mensur duels with sharp sabers. The Mensur is the traditional match arranged for university students ... a sort of rite of passage into the world of fencing. But fencing isn't the only place where Mr. Amberger is leaving his mark. In 1989 Christoph left Germany for an intern position at a small publishing company. His knack for writing and researching took hold, and in a few short years he became the Executive Publisher of his division. Under his leadership, the division grew from a few million dollars in sales a year to one that has grossed over $65 million in sales in the past four years. As executive publisher of the Taipan Group LLC, headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, Mr. Amberger and his team of analysts, researchers, writers and editors provide stock trading recommendations to an audience of well over 190,000 readers.
While sports fans from coast to coast fret and obsess over their picks for today's opening round of the NCAA basketball tournament, selecting the top four teams of this weekend's NCAA men's and women's fencing championships at the George R. Brown Convention Center doesn't require a degree in bracketology.
Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and St. John's have combined to win the last 11 NCAA titles. Each brings a talented complement of competitors into the weekend meet, which begins at 10 a.m. today with the opening rounds in men's foil, epee and sabre.
The men's competition, which feature defending champions in all three events, will be decided Friday, followed by women's events on Saturday and Sunday.
Defending champion Ohio State is led by Houston native Jason Rogers of Los Angeles, one of four 2004 U.S. Olympic team members competing this week.
It all comes down to this. After a long season, the Irish, who are No. 1 in the women's poll and No. 4 in the men's, are ready to compete in its culmination. Notre Dame will participate in the 2005 NCAA championships in Houston, which begin today and will run through Sunday. The Irish have put in work and had success in preparation for the tournament and seem ready to make a run at the title. "The whole year, we've been practicing to prepare for this event," senior foilist Alicja Kryczalo said. Notre Dame is in good shape for the meet, having qualified 11 out of a maximum of 12 fencers to battle for the NCAA's ultimate prize. Of the three other teams who join the Irish as national champions in the past 11 years, only St. John's qualified all fencers, while Penn State and Ohio State are also each sending 11 competitors. The Irish will be sending a team that is rich in both talent and NCAA experience. Of the 11 competitors, eight have fenced in the NCAAs before, and they share a combined 15 All-America awards. Kryczalo, who is a three-time defending champion, will lead the Irish contingent this weekend, as she attempts to join an elite group of college athletes with four individual titles in the same sport. Two other former champions will join her - senior epeeist Kerry Walton won in 2002 and sophomore sabre Valerie Providenza took the title last year. Providenza's biggest thorn to defending her crown may be her own teammate, as freshman Mariel Zagunis, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist, will attempt to begin her own streak of victories. The men's team will be led by senior epeeist Michal Sobieraj, who is still looking for his first title after finishing in the top 10 every season, including a second-place finish in his sophomore year. With all their individual accomplishments and ambitions, the Irish realize that success will come as a group. "It takes teamwork. We all have to fence well, but we can fence well," Kryczalo said.
Notre Dame fencer Alicja Kryczalo will try to earn her fourth straight NCAA foil title this weekend.
SOUTH BEND -- Alicja Kryczalo not only experiences a mental strain before every event, she incorporates it into her routine like a form of psychological stretching.
She wouldn't be the same fencer without it.
Few college fencers ever -- few athletes in any NCAA sport, in fact -- have translated a sensitivity to pressure into success with as much fluency as Kryczalo.
Few have taken their talent so far. And Kryczalo still has more ground to cover.
Her fourth consecutive national women's foil championship will be at stake this weekend in Houston, a long way from Gdansk, Poland where her journey began.
Not just in miles, but in milestones.
Only two fencers ever, and 31 athletes in any NCAA sport, have won four national titles.
With history hanging over the proceedings, Kryczalo needs no prodding to generate the nervous urgency that fuels her performance.
"It's my custom that I am stressing myself too much," she said in her charming, accented English. "So I stress myself too much that I will not win, it's impossible. And I just won everything. It's somehow my way. I am doing this always."
Stressing and winning. Always.
During an interview this week before she resumed preparations for the climactic event of her college career, Kryczalo displayed none of the agitated ambition that drives her.
"Many people are telling me that they cannot imagine me fencing," Kryczalo said, "because fencing is connected with more aggression and I probably don't show it."
If not in her passive personality, it shows in her passionate performances.
She keeps her tension to herself. Her intensity, on the other hand, she can't hide. Not once she brandishes her weapon.
Polite and demure in conversation, Kryczalo experiences a metamorphosis in competition.
"She is soft in the group, in the relations. Sometimes it looks that she is very soft," Poland-born Irish coach Janusz Bednarski said. "But when she's going to bout, she's changing. She's fighter."
It takes that mentality to rise above a crowded field that includes a high concentration of talent even on her own campus.
Classmate Andrea Ament finished second to Kryczalo twice at the NCAA Championships and third once. Foiled again and again.
Ament's bad timing has meant good fortune for Notre Dame.
Their coinciding careers have added considerable decoration to a fencing program already well-appointed.
Bednarski's driven discovery from Poland acquired the most precious medals, but Kryczalo's individual success never detracted from team goals. They won the 2003 national title and enter this weekend's NCAA Championships ranked No. 1.
In fencing, that can be an especially perilous tightrope to walk, but Kryczalo and Ament have displayed nothing if not balance.
"Andrea is one of the best teammates I could think about to have, really," Kryczalo said. "She's always supporting me. She's amazing fencer too."
As fast as Kryczalo's competitive transformation occurs, it reverts when the bout ends.
The best, and perhaps most intense fencer in the group becomes just another part of it.
"It was like something different, somebody else," Bednarski said. "Then she's coming off the strip and her emotions are a little bit cooling down and she's soft once again."
Her fencing skill has been evident since Bednarski discovered her a decade ago at the Junior World Championships in Budapest.
Studying psychology at Notre Dame helped Kryczalo understand how to channel her anxiety into a sort of performance-enhancing emotion.
"The mental and psychological part of me was the weakest and now it has become very strong," Kryczalo said. "Now I'm controlling it. So it's stress in control."
She can't explain how that evolution happened because the essential mental element to athletic success can be so elusive.
Only the results have been tangible, but the path to three straight national championships and the cusp of a fourth has been just a difficult to define.
"I think it's kind of a gift from, I don't know, somewhere," Kryczalo said, "that I was able to win three times."
A gift from within. That can't be stressed enough.