Pioneer Fencers Star at United States National Championships

Aug. 28, 2009

FAIRFIELD, CT - Nine Pioneer fencers competed recently in Dallas, Texas at the Unites States Fencing Association National Championships. This was the largest number of Sacred Heart Ffencers to ever compete at the National Championships. Three fencers from the Sacred Heart women's team also competed in the event.

The Pioneer men were led in foil by incoming freshmen Igor Krivenko and Jared Rebeor. Krivenko placed in the Junior National Championship (19 and under) and finished 19th in the Division One (Open) Championship. Krivenko is currently ranked 9th in the nation in the Junior point standings and 19th in Division 1. In addition to Igor's sues, fellow incoming freshmen Jared Rebeor placed fifth in the Division 1A Championship.

"Both Igor and Jared had very successful results in Dallas," comments head coach Dr. Thomas Vrabel. "Igor was fighting a pretty serious virus during the championships and while his performance was not up to his usual standards, he showed a lot of heart and determination in placing as high as he did considering his physical condition."

"Igor has incredible mental toughness to go along with his outstanding reflexes and balance. His joining the team brings foils at SHU to a new level of excellence that will benefit the entire foils squad. The fifth place finish in the Division 1A Championship was a great stepping stone for Jared Rebeor. He is really beginning to take advantage of his height (Jared is 6'4") in his strategy and I see Jared improving at a very fast pace one practice starts and he gets to work with Igor and the rest of the foilists on a daily basis."

Rebeor continued his strong fencing by winning the gold medal at the New York State Fencing Championship held earlier this month. He was joined on the podium by fellow incoming freshman Stuart Holmes, who placed third in that Competition.

"We are extremely fortunate to have such a talented group of freshmen foilists this year", said Vrabel. This group of freshmen will make our foil squad the strongest weapon squad in the history of the program"

The Division One National Championships are open to only those fencers that are currently on the Division 1 points list. Fencers qualify for the Division 1A Championship by finishing in the top 25 percent of competitors in one of the USFA Sectional Championships.

The success of the Pioneer fencers continued in epee with the performances of sophomores Nick Negron and Justin Dion. Nick placed and 30th in the Junior Epee Championship while Justin placed 17th in the Division 1A Championship and 45th in the Junior Championship. With his top 32 performance, Negron is now the 34th-ranked junior epeeist in the country.

"Nick and Justin had great weeks in Dallas," said Dr. Vrabel. "Both fencers have been working very hard in the off season and both their technique and confidence has improved dramatically. Nick is now much more relaxed and as a result he is quicker and more efficient with his actions. Both Coach Luciano and I are very pleased with how he has embraced our approach to epee and this transition is now becoming imbedded in Nick's game."

"Justin just continues to improve with each event he enters and he has become a very tough out," he continued. "I am very pleased with the improvement of our epee squad this summer. We should be in a good position to go for a 3rd consecutive Northeast Fencing Conference Epee squad championship this year."

Dion continued his strong results at the NY State Epee Chamionships where he placed 6th. He was joined on the podium in this event by SHU assistant coach Paul Luciano who was the bronze medalist and by fellow sophomore Travis Pereira, who finished eight.

Sophomore Marty Williams also had a successful Summer Nationals, placing ninth in Junior Saber, 23rd in Division One Saber, and winning the team gold medal as a starter on the Westbrook Foundation Junior Saber Team. Marty is now ranked 9th in the Nation in Junior Saber and 29th in Division One Saber.

"Elite level saber is very competitive and It is very difficult to defend your championship," said Dr. Vrabel. "I am very confident that Marty will continue to be a top collegiate competitor and should repeat as a first team all league selection this season. I look forward to Williams, Krivenko, Rebeor, Negron and Dion to all be serious competitors for qualifying for the NCAA Championships this year."

"With this influx of talent in the past two recruiting classes, our starters may all be underclassmen this season. The raw talent is now at SHU for our Men's Team to be one of the top squads in the Northeast and possibly the country. Time will tell if we can reach this level of excellence this year."

The Pioneers will kick off the 2009-2010 season with the annual red white scrimmage in October.