By Joseph Siegel
The Sacred Heart men’s and women’s fencing team kicked off its season on Nov. 4 with the Big One Invitational at Smith College, in Northampton, Mass.
The team is looking to improve on their 2016-2017 season. The men’s team finished last year with a record of 7-13, and the women finished at 12-10.
The fencing team as a whole sent eight fencers to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Northeast Regional Tournament at the end of last season.
The Pioneers had seven fencers named to the Northeast Conference (NEC) All-Conference Team, which included senior Tyler Endee, who received the “NEC Conference Fencer of the Year Award.”
“The goal is to win the tournament,” said head coach, Yury Molchan. “As a team, we want a majority of our players to earn a couple of medals. With everyone competing, there’s a lot of hope we can do that.”
The Big One is an individual event. All of the athletes fence for themselves and their own records. Their results do not affect the team’s standing in the NEC.
“Like every year at the Big One, we are looking to do our best, get as many people on the podium as we can, and to have fun doing it,” said senior, Gianna DiMartino.
The women’s team finished in second place in the NEC last year.
“The women should take the next step and overhead Boston College, whose players won the conference last year,” said Molchan. “The team has all the pieces to finish first in our conference and we expect to win our conference.”
The men’s team finished in third place in the NEC last year.
“I’m expecting first place for the men’s team,” said Mochlan. “With players like junior, Dante Centeno, and senior, Tyler Endee, these are veterans that can lead us to a championship.”
This is Mochlan’s second year as head coach. Previously, he had spent time at Ohio State University, where he was an assistant coach for four years. Molchan is looking towards a promising future for the fencing program at Sacred Heart, and envisions major success for the fencers on this team.
“Coach has emphasized the importance of not being lazy, or careless, on the strip. If we do that now, we won’t succeed during the season,” said DiMartino. “Training hard every day at practice and working on the smallest and simplest of things will help us all out in the long run and we will be the best team out there if we stay focused. ‘We already are the best team,’ he says, ‘we just have to be ready to prove it.’”
The team is ready to do anything to win the conference.
“Over my four years I have also switched weapons each time in order to help out our squads that lacked in numbers,” said DiMartino. “I have traveled every season as an alternate and was a starter for epee mid-season last year.”
The team is ready to start a stretch of tournaments through the next three weekends. The Pioneers are competing in the Vassar Invitational at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY, on Nov. 12, followed by the team’s first Northeast Fencing Conference (NFC) meet at Brown University, in Providence, R.I. on Nov. 18.
“We’re definitely excited and we want to kick the season off with a bang,” said DiMartino.