Pioneer Women's Fencing Announces Incoming Freshman Class

(Fairfield, CT) - Dr. Thomas Vrabel, Sacred Heart University Fencing Coach, has announced that seven freshmen fencers will be joining the Pioneer Women's Fencing team this fall.  This group includes five foilists and two epeeists.

The five foilists coming to Sacred Heart are Kristen Fischbach, Aileen Trella, Tess Kallmeyer, Dominique Weigel and Melissa Tsiames. Fischbach is from Stony Brook, NY, where she was the team captain of the Long Island Champion Warde-Melville High School fencing team and a first team all Suffolk County Selection this past season.  Her Warde-Melville team was Long Island champion for all six years that she was on the squad.  She fences at Mission Fencing Center where she is coached by Jenny Salmon. 

Trella is from Berkeley Heights, NJ, where she was team captain for the Governor Livingston High School fencing team.   A New Jersey District 3 foil champion last season and second team all state honoree,  Trella started on the Governor Livingston team that won the 2009 New Jersey State Championship and the 2011Santelli High School Tournament. 

Kallmeyer joins the SHU foil squad from Pacific Palisades, CA where she graduated from Pacific Palisades Charter High School.  Kallmeyer fences for the Beverly Hills Fencing Club where she is coached by Boris Kushnir.   

Weigel comes from Norwich, CT, where she captained the Norwich Free Academy fencing team en route to becoming this year's Eastern Connecticut Fencing Conference foil champion.  She placed seventh in the CT State High School Championship and was a second team all state selection. 

Tsiames is from New Fairfield, CT and has fenced foil for five years.  She is a member of the Candlewood Fencing Center where she is coached by Tom Ciccarone.

"I am very pleased with both the talent and the athleticism of these foilists," said head coach Dr. Tom Vrabel.  "They will be great additions to our foil squad that was very successful last season.  This is the first time that we have ever had seven experienced fencers in foil.  This will give us opportunities for in house competition that we have not experienced on this squad before." 

This talented group will be joining junior team captain Jayme Smith and sophomore Natalie Rossetti in foil this season.  "It will be very interesting to see who will become established as contenders for starting foil spots through our preseason practices," said Vrabel.

The epee squad will be bolstered this season with the addition of Megan Floyd and Nicole Price.  Floyd hails from Media, PA, where she was a three-year team captain of the Strath Haven High School team.   Floyd was the 2010 USFA Division III National Champion and also placed seventh at the USFA Division II National Championship last July.  She is a member of the Wallingford-Swathmore Panther Fencing Club, where she is coached by Pixie Roane. 

Price hails from Seekonk, MA and was a four-year starter for the Bishop Feehan High School fencing team. She was elected epee squad captain as a sophomore and the overall team captain during her junior and senior seasons.  Last season, she led her Bishop Feehan epee squad to a bronze medal finish in the Massachusetts State High School Championships, where she placed seventh individually.  Price is a member of the Blackstone Valley Fencing Club where she is coached by Mike Olson.

"I look for Megan and Nicole to have an immediate impact on our epee squad this season," said Dr. Vrabel.  "I know that they will be major contributors and will be an excellent addition to returning squad captain junior Colleen Mason and senior Sara Graziosi.  Floyd has exceptional quickness for a tall (6') epeeist and I see her being an excellent complement from the right side to Mason on the left.  The last epeeist that came to us from Bishop Feehan was Justin Dion (3-time Northeast Conference first team selection and 2011 NCAA honorable mention All-American).  Perhaps she can repeat Justin's performance as a Pioneer."

"The most impressive characteristics that this recruiting class possesses are both athletic success leadership experience", comments Dr. Vrabel.  "The five fencers that were on high school teams were all state or all league selections and also were team captains.  This experience is very beneficial when a fencer makes the transition to the collegiate level.  They also give us the depth in foil and epee that will allow some of our fencers like Kaytie Poplaski and Brooke Perlee to explore the possibility of moving to saber for this season.  With only one senior on the team we will certainly be young this year, but the competitive experience that this recruiting class has will allow them to perform like veterans as freshmen.  I look for this to be a very exciting season for Pioneer Womens Fencing."   

The Sacred Heart Mens and Womens fencing teams will be holding their annual Red – White Scrimmage in late October at the Pitt Center.  Collegiate competition will begin with both Teams participating at the "Big One" tournament at Smith College on Saturday, November 5, 2011.