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ND FENCING: Fighters struggle in Texas

Dan Tapetillo | Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Irish sent 14 of their top competitors to the non-NCAA North American Cup in Houston, Texas last weekend to help measure themselves against the nation’s top fencers. The event took place at the Brown Convention Center – the same venue where the Irish won the 2005 NCAA Combined Fencing Championship last season, and this year had 6 of the 11 fencers from that squad.

However, this tournament was not a team-scoring event.

“You only go to compete individually and are not representing a specific school,” junior Valerie Providenza said. “So [the North American Cup] is used to determine the top fencers in the U.S., and those who earn the most points at the end of the season go on to make the national team. But others go just to prepare for the NCAAs or the World Cup. It all depends on your skill level.”

In the Division I Men’s Epee competition, junior Patrick Gettings led the Irish at 34th, and freshman Mark Kubik placed 28th in the men’s foil. The Division I Sabre competition was led by junior Patrick Ghattas, 18th, and freshman Bill Thanhouser, 24th, who recently earned the No. 1 ranking in the USFA under-21 men’s sabre rankings.

“The men fenced well, it was just tough competition,” Providenza said. “There are many more events for us to perform well in.”

Junior captain Amy Orlando agreed.

“Fencing is a mental sport that varies from day to day. There are so many little aspects and technical [elements],” she said. “We just see it as a bad day for both the men and the women and it doesn’t dictate what we should expect for the rest of the season.”

In the Division I Women’s portion of the competition, Orlando finished 19th and fifth-year Becca Chimahusky took 21st Freshman Adi Nott led the Irish in the women’s foil in 21st place. The sabre competition showcased sophomore Mariel Zagnis and Providenza, placing sixth and tenth overall, respectively.

In the junior men’s portion of the competition, Kubik finished 15th in men’s foil and Thanhouser placed 11th in the men’s sabre.

For the women, Montoya placed 15th in the epee and Nott and Prot placed third and 54th in the foil.

The Irish return to action on Jan. 22 at the NYU Duals.