Pioneer Men Win Six Medals at Big One Tournament

Nov. 9, 2009

SOUTH HADLEY, MA - The Big One Individual Collegiate Fencing Tournament was held on Saturday at Smith College and the Pioneer men responded in a big way. This was the largest "Big One" ever, with 460 fencers from 25 schools competing.

The day began with men's epee. In fantastic results in the preliminary pool competition, Pioneer sophomores Justin Dion and Travis Pereira went undefeated and finished first and second in of a field of 84. Dion continued his incredible day by defeating Javi Ordonez of MIT 15-9 in the round of 64, Cordell Zebrose of WPI 15-8 in the round of 32, Stewart Dougherty of UMASS 15-12 in the round of 16 to get to the quarterfinals. In his direct elimination bouts, Pereira defeated Nick Davis of Univ of New Hampshire 15/10 and Tucker Robinson -Neff of Brandeis 15-14 before losing to Carl Goldfarb of Brandeis 15-13 to finish 9th overall.

Dion won his quarter final bout comfortably with a 15-4 win over Albert Starshak of BC and then stayed ahead from the start and controlled a tough win against Kelly McGuire of Brown 15-13. This set up a final between Justin and Will Bedor of Brandeis. Dion took an early lead and was not headed on his way to 12-8 victory.

"This was a great win for Justin," said head coach Dr. Thomas Vrabel. "This result validates all of the hard work that Dion has been putting in. In addition to having excellent quickness and balance for his height (6'4"), Justin has intense focus and is never fazed by events that happen in a bout. This result is a great follow up to his 3rd place finish in this tournament last season. He has established himself as one of the top epeeists in the Northeast Region."

In addition to Dion and Pereira, junior Nate Quigley finished 24th, senior and squad captain Kyle Dee was 30th, and sophomores Charles Schneider and Nick Negron were 53rd and 55th.

"This was a nice start to the season for the epee squad," said Vrabel. "Nate Quigley has begun establishing his position as a solid third starter, and with reserves with the talent of Dee, Negron and freshman Jeremiah German, we are in a strong position to repeat as conference tournament epee champions".

The Pioneers have been Northeast Intercollegiate Fencing Conference Tournament epee champions the past two seasons.

While the epee tournament was underway, Sacred Heart's foil squad got into action. The Pioneers were dominant again in the preliminary round and freshmen Ethan Patterson, Jared Rebeor, and Stuart Holmes went undefeated and seeded first, eighth and tenth and junior Will Puglisi went 5-1 and seeded 12th. All four of these Pioneers won through the round of 16 and made the quarterfinals.

In the quarterfinal round, long time friends Rebeor and Patterson faced off and Rebeor advanced to the semifinals with a 15-9 victory. Stuart Holmes defeated Tavish Pegram of Vassar 15-4 and Will Puglisi beat Jonathan Yu of Brown 15-12. This left three SHU foilists in the semifinals! Once again Rebeor was up against a team mate (Puglisi) and Rebeor won a hard fought 15-13 decision. Stuart Holmes fenced Brown All-American Adam Pantel and lost 15-4. In another hard fought match, Pantel got out to a several touch lead in the final before holding off a furious comeback from Rebeor to win the match 15-13. In addition to these four Pioneers, junior team captain Jim Roberts finished 37th and sophomore Aaron Rauth was 47th in the 82 man field.

This second, two third's and a fifth-place finish is the best result ever for a Pioneer squad at this event.

"This performance of our foil team raised a lot of eyebrows on Saturday," commented Dr. Vrabel. "We have a very diverse group with several tall and very athletic foilists both from the left and right side. These guys work great together and the tough but friendly competition among them in practice is paying off. The foil team will be very competitive this season against any opponent that we face. We have a great opportunity to have one or possibly two of these fencers make it to the NCAA Championships this season."

Not to be outdone, the saber squad also had a successful day. Sophomore phenom Marty Williams did not make the event since he placed third at the prestigious Temple Open the week before and an opportunity was given to one of the other saberists at this event. Sophomore Henry Crocker was undefeated in the preliminary round and seeded seventh in the 76 man field. Freshman Ryan O'Halloran seeded 13th and Sophomore squad captain CJ Fleck seeded 20th going in to the direct elimination tableau. Crocker continued to be successful despite nursing a very sore right knee and made it to the quarter final round before losing to Teddy Weller of Brown 15-6. Crocker finished the tournament in seventh place.

In addition to Crocker's fine performance, CJ Fleck finished 15th, Ryan O'Halloran 19th, sophomore David Choy 32nd and freshman Michael Huang 33rd.

"It was very satisfying to see how well this very young squad did today," said Dr. Vrabel. "Henry Crocker fenced very well and CJ Fleck's improvement continues to impress. Ryan O'Halloran has really come on over the past month and David Choy and Michael Huang are making smooth transitions from foil. I look for our saber squad to be much improved over last year."

The Pioneers are back in action at Vassar College on Sunday, where they will fence Hunter College, Drew University, Yeshiva University, and Haverford College.