Head Fencing Coach Dr. Thomas Vrabel announced that three student-athletes, all from Connecticut, will be joining the Sacred Heart women’s fencing team while four student-athletes will join the Pioneer men for the upcoming 2010-11 season.
Natalie Rossetti (Guilford, CT), Gabriella Garofano (Waterford, CT) and Bianca Boudreau (Fairfield, CT) will join the Pioneers for the coming 2010-11 season. Saber and foil fencers lead the way for the Sacred Heart men’s recruiting class. The recruits are led by the saber tandem of Peter Freiss (Stony Brook, NY) and Sean Vilar (Miami, FL) and are joined by foilist Brendan Stokes (Port Murray, NJ) and epeeist Joshua Iannarone (Monroe, CT).
Freiss, who has been fencing for six years, is a USFA B rated saberist and was an all county selection for all four of his seasons at Ward-Mellville High School. In addition, he was a two time county individual saber champion. In his senior season, Freiss earned a first team All-Long Island selection and was the Brentwood Holiday High School Tournament Champion. Freiss fences for Mission Fencing Center where he is coached by Jeff Salmon.
Vilar is a B rated saber fencer and comes to Fairfield from Miami where he fences for the Miami Fencing Club and is a two time silver medalist at the Sunshine State Games. Vilar earned his B rating by taking second at the USFA Division II NAC tournament in Dallas, TX this past season. He has been fencing for four years.
“We are very excited to have both Peter and Sean both join the saber squad this fall,” commented head coach Dr. Thomas Vrabel. “Both fencers have extensive experience at the national level and will have an excellent opportunity to be impact players for us this season. Peter has great quickness for a tall (6’3”) saber fencer and has a very sound tactical game. At 5’5”, Sean is very fast and explosive. We will now have excellent depth in the saber squad and should be one of the top saber squads again this year in the conference”.
The saber squad returns its full compliment from last season, including NCAA Championship participant Marty Williams (Plainfield, NJ), squad captain CJ Fleck (Sicklerville, NJ), sophomore Ryan O’Halloran (Garden City, NY) and juniors David Choy (Tijuana, Mexico) and Charles Schneider (Ledyard, CT).
Stokes is a foil fencer and a second team all-conference selection for West Morris Central High School. Stokes, a four year fencer, will bring depth to a foil squad that won the Silvio Vitale Cup last season as the most successful weapon squad at the New England Intercollegiate Fencing Tournament Championship. He will be joining a team that features Pioneer senior captain Jim Roberts (North Haven, CT), Ethan Patterson (Greenville, NY) and Stuart Holmes (Centereach, NY) who were All-Northeast Fencing Conference selections as freshmen last season. The squad also includes senior Will Puglisi (Totowa, NJ) and sophomore Victor Nieto (The Woodlands, TX).
Iannarone, a local talent from Monroe, has been fencing epee for four years. He will be joining an epee squad that features junior Justin Dion (North Attleboro, MA), who placed 13th at the NCAA fencing championships last season and Jeremiah German (Pittsburgh, PA), who was second team all-conference as a freshman last year. The team also includes juniors Travis Pereira (Port Washington, NY) and Nicholas Negron (Kingwood, TX), who split the third starting position last season and senior Nate Quigley (Florence, MA).
The team for the 2010-11 season will have the best overall talent of any team that has been fielded by Sacred Heart. The team will include 7A, 3B and 3C rated fencers and will return eight starters from the team that won the Northeast Fencing Conference Championship last season with a perfect 10-0 record.
“This team has a wonderful opportunity to take the program to level of success that we have yet to achieve”, says Dr. Vrabel. “Considering how young we were last year (five freshmen and four sophomore starters) our success was pretty remarkable. All three of our squads should be very competitive with all in the league and most in collegiate fencing. I am very excited about our prospects for the coming campaign”.
On the women’s side, Rossetti starred in both foil and epee for Guilford High School, where she was a four year starter and led the foil quad to the 2010 Connecticut High School Championship. Rossetti earned first team all state honors in foil three times while starring at Guilford. She currently has a USFA C rating in foil and D rating in epee and fences for the ICONN Fencing Center.
“Natalie is a great natural athlete and has a distinct advantage in being 5’11” and left handed”, comments Dr. Vrabel. ‘‘I look for her to make major contributions in both weapons this season.”
Garofano, from Waterford, is also an accomplished martial artist, fenced foil for St. Bernard’s High School. Boudreau fenced foil in high school for the Fairfield combined high school team, composed of athletes from both Fairfield Ludlowe and Fairfield Warde High Schools, but she looks forward to competing for the Pioneers in her first love, which is saber.
“It is nice to see that we are successful in getting Connecticut talent for the program”, said Dr. Vrabel. “There has been great growth in high school fencing in Connecticut over the last decade. With the addition of these freshmen, half of our team is from the Nutmeg State. This is building a solid local base for our future”.
With the graduation of five important seniors, including three year team captain Krista Bacci, the Pioneers will be very young this year. “Our team is almost entirely made up of freshmen and sophomores this season”, said Vrabel. “We will be talented but will be very young. This group of athletes will be core of the program for the next several seasons. With the success of our freshmen from last year such as Jayme Smith (Ridgefield, CT), Elena Tringa (Garden City, NY) and Colleen Mason (Waterford, CT), we should be able to be very competitive while gaining experience”.
The Pioneers finished third in the Northeastern Fencing Conference last season while posting a 9-3 record.
Both teams begin the 2010 season with the annual Red/White Scrimmage on Sunday, October 24th in the William H. Pitt Center.