Fencing: Piasio grows into key role for Notre Dame
Matthew Robison | Wednesday, February 8, 2012
All season long, the Irish have seen their fencers grow and take on larger roles, and junior Jack Piasio is no exception.
In his first two seasons with the veteran-laden Irish, Piasio had more of a background role as a young fencer loaded with talent. This season, Piasio has grown into a veteran looking to lead Notre Dame to its second straight NCAA championship.
“Coming into Notre Dame as a relatively inexperienced fencer, especially compared to the all-star talent that I work with here, I had a more minor role and less starting time my earlier years,” Piasio said.
In his freshman campaign, Piasio went 20-6 in his bouts. As a sophomore, he improved his win total, finishing the year 23-10. This season, Piasio is on the main stage and has been tallying a number of wins already.
He earned 10 wins during a 6-0 Notre Dame sweep at the Northwestern Duals on Jan. 7-8. On top of earning wins in the epee and helping his team win matchups, Piasio realizes he has a leadership role, one that he does not take lightly.
“I have to be a leader on this team. Not the leader, a leader,” Piasio said. “No questions about it, I need to perform at the highest level that I can. Not only do I need to do this in order to earn victories, but also push the other guys on the team to the highest level they can be.”
Although Notre Dame may seem slightly less experienced than it has been in years past, the Irish are still confident they have the right pieces in place to capture the national title. This tradition of excellence attracted Piasio to South Bend in the first place, and he said it is something he is proud to be a part of.
“Especially at a place like this, in tandem with tradition and stellar academics, this truly is a pipe-dream for me,” Piasio said.
The transition from high school fencing to the collegiate level was not easy. But it is something Piasio is happy to have endured because he said he is a better fencer and a better person for it.
“Fencing was much more relaxed for me in my prep years,” Piasio said. “I had some national success and accolades, but I wasn’t working as hard as I could have. It’s a fantastic opportunity and work experience, a lot more preparation that what I was previously doing.”
Piasio attributed Notre Dame’s tradition of success to the commitment to excellence, the level of talent and the intangible sense of camaraderie among teammates.
“I strongly believe that, when all cylinders blazing, we are the best team in the nation,” Piasio said.
The Irish women fencers will participate in the Duke Duals on Feb. 11 and the USFA National Junior Olympics run Feb. 17-20 in Salt Lake City. The next combined meet is the Squad Championships in New York on Feb. 26.
Contact Matthew Robison at email@example.com