Marty Williams and Travis Pereira lead Pioneer Fencers in International and Domestic Competitions

Oct. 27, 2009

FAIRFIELD, CT - Sophomore saber fencer Marty Williams (Plainfield, NJ) kicked off his international competition schedule this season by winning the Silver Medal at the FIE Junior World Cup Saber Circuit Tournoi Carl Schwende in Montreal, Canada on Saturday.

The strong field included competitors from 7 countries and last year's NCAA Champion Alex Ochocki from Penn State. Williams was seeded 16th in a field of 46, following the preliminary seeding round of competition. He defeated Isaac Celis of Canada 15-10 in the round of 32 which set up a match between Williams and Ochocki. Marty went on to defeat last year's NCAA champion Ochocki 15-11 in the round of 16 and American Dan Berliner 15-9 to reach the semifinals.

In the semifinals he defeated American Eric Arzoian 15-14 in a very exciting and hotly contested bout. This win set up a championship bout between Marty and his Westbrook Foundation teammate Adrian Bak in the Championship. In the finals Marty fenced well but lost to Bak 15-11. Last season Williams placed third in this tournament.

"We are very pleased with Marty's performance in Montreal," commented head fencing coach Dr. Thomas Vrabel. "Marty has rebounded well from a performance at this summer's U.S. National Championship that was not up to his usual lofty standards. He has been working hard this year on improving his conditioning and reflexes.

"We have also been working hard together at making his game more direct and less predictable. To use a baseball example, if Marty was a pitcher, the opponents had a good idea of what pitch was coming on different counts. Marty now is very comfortable using his entire arsenal at any time in a match and this has made him even more formidable. We look forward to Marty having a great sophomore season."

In domestic action this past weekend, four of Sacred Heart's eppeists competed at the "Pumpkin Stab" tournament at the Candlewood Fencing Center in Danbury, CT on Sunday.

Sophomores Justin Dion (North Attleboro, MA), Travis Pereira (Port Washington, NY) and Nico Negron (Kingwood. TX), and freshman Jeremiah German (Pittsburgh, PA) competed in an A2 rated tournament that had 5 A, 7 B and 8 C-rated fencers in a field of 28.

All four pioneer fencers did well in the preliminary round, with Dion and German seeding in a 3rd place tie and Negron and Pereira placing in the top 12 and each reached the quarterfinals where they unfortunately had teammates as opponents.

In two very close and hard fought matches, Pereira defeated German 15-13 and Negron defeated Dion 15-12. Due to one of the semifinalists having to withdraw from the tournament, Pereira automatically advanced to the final.

In the other semifinal bout, Negron lost to Shawn Marshman 15-12 in a match that featured many lead changes. In the championship match, Pereira kicked in to high gear and handily defeated Marshman 15-6.

In winning this tournament, Pereira earned the highly-coveted "A" competitor rating, which is also currently held in epee by Negron, German and assistant coach Paul Luciano. In the final results, Negron tied for third and Dion and German both tied for 5th.

"This was the best one day result that SHU epee fencers have ever had in a USFA competition," said Dr. Vrabel. "To have all four of them place in the top six was a real accomplishment. It was unfortunate they had to go up against each other in the quarterfinals. Travis fenced great on Sunday. He is the only fencer on the team whose foot speed and reflexes compare with Marty Williams', and it is so nice to see how dominant he was in the championship bout."

"All four of these fencers have embraced the strategy and tactics that Coach Luciano and I have been stressing and it is very satisfying to see them becoming comfortable with the execution of these strategies. I expect our men's epee squad to be comparable to any in the league this year. I believe that we are now significantly improved over the teams that won the conference tournament epee championships the last two seasons."

In USFA foil action on Saturday, freshman Stuart Holmes (Centereach, NY) placed seventh at the "Dirty Rat" Foil Open that was held at the Clinton Fencing Club in New Jersey. Stuart fenced both A-rated foilists in the competition during the direct elimination bouts. He defeated Jonathan Lee in the round of 16 but lost to the eventual champion Jesse Schibilia in the quarterfinals.

"Stuart has probably made the most progress of any of the freshman this season," comments Dr. Vrabel. "He is a very hard worker and really exemplifies what Pioneer fencing is all about. I look for Stuart to play an important role on the foil squad this season."

The Pioneers' collegiate season kicks off of November 7 at the "Big One" Collegiate Individual tournament at Smith College.