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Navy Women’s Fencing Team Wins National Championship

Posted on: April 11, 2014 08:00 EDT by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan L. Correa

Navy Women’s Fencing Team Wins National Championship

Story by: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan L. Correa

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Navy’s women fencing team won first place at the U.S. Association of Collegiate Fencing Clubs national championship in Knoxville, Tenn., April 6.

Forty schools were represented with more than 700 fencers participating in this year’s USACFC National Championships, which was hosted by the Knoxville Convention Center and is the world's largest collegiate fencing competition.

The Navy’s fencing team was up against teams from very large schools, such as Florida, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Indiana, and New Hampshire, and against talented teams from smaller schools, such as Dartmouth and Army.

“This was our first team championship, and our highest finish as a combined team, since Navy began participating in the USACFC Nationals in 2004,” said Capt. Emil Petruncio, head coach and officer representative of the fencing team.

This year the men and women’s team defended their title as the Southern Atlantic Conference champions at the 2014 tournament hosted by the University of Georgia on March 22-23.

“I couldn't be prouder of the way our men's and women's teams performed this year,” said Petruncio. “They supported each other in practice, with experienced fencers helping to develop the new fencers, and at tournaments, sharing information about opponents and encouraging each other throughout each bout.”

The Navy fielded 3-person squads in each weapon portion of the competition: the epee, the foil, and the saber.

Petruncio believes much of the credit goes to the team’s volunteer coaches Kaz Campe (epee), Jim Adams (foil), and Phil Sbarbaro (saber), as well as their three-weapon coach, fencing master Janusz Smolenski.

“I was hoping for one or more of our weapon squads to win a trophy by finishing in the top three places, but I did not expect a team championship,” said Petruncio.

Individual medals were awarded to the top eight fencers in each weapon in the individual competition: Midshipmen 4th Class Allen Wang (3rd, saber), Midshipmen 2nd Class Conor Cross (5th, epee), Midshipmen 3rd Class Alex Shilakis (7th, foil), and Midshipmen 1st Class Jordan Rettie (8th, saber).

This was the first club-level national fencing championship for Navy since Navy won NCAA team championships in 1950, 1959 and 1962.

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