(Poughkeepsie, NY) - Sacred Heart University hosted the 2011 NCAA Northeast Regional Championship Competition yesterday at Vassar College. The Pioneers are once again sending two fencers to the NCAA Championship, which will be held at the Ohio State University on March 23-27. Justin Dion in epee, Marty Williams in saber, and Stuart Holmes in foil all advanced to the final round of the competition. Dion finished strong with five wins in his last six bouts to go 6-5 and place fifth. Williams went 7-4 and placed sixth in the tough 12-man final pool. Their performances secured spots in the top eight fencers in their respective weapons for the season and earned them automatic spots in the NCAA Championship.
Holmes was 3-8 in the final pool and finished tenth on the day. His overall 12 place finish left him four spots shy of being selected. Athletes are selected to the Championship Final Competition based on 40% for their season performance and 60% on their result at the NCAA Regional Competition.
"This event is by far the toughest competition that these fencers will experience in their collegiate careers," comments head coach Dr. Thomas Vrabel. "The pressure is similar to Q School for professional golfers. All it takes is one slight lapse in concentration or a poor strategic decision and a year's hard work can melt away. Justin and Marty were very focused both in their preparation for the event and in their performances today. They did what they had to do, which was get one of those very difficult regional berths. Stuart Holmes has made great strides and put in the best performance of his career and just fell short of advancing. I know that with his focus and determination, his joining Marty and Justin at the Championship will be a very attainable achievement for Stuart next season".
Jeremiah German advanced to the semifinal round and placed 20th on the day in epee. In saber, Peter Freiss finished 23rd and Sean Vilar 29th, while in foil Victor Nieto placed 23rd and Jim Roberts 28th.
"In addition to the continued excellence of Dion and Williams, our other competitors improved over their previous performances," said Dr. Vrabel. "With the only senior in the group being Roberts and with some strong freshmen joining the team, we will have a good shot at doubling our representation at the NCAA Championship next season."