By Nick Hawks
On March 9, the Cleveland State University fencing team continued postseason play, competing in the Midwest Regional at the Castellan Family Fencing Center in Notre Dame, Indiana. The regional serves as a qualifying round and serves as the penultimate round of postseason play before the NCAA Championships, which will be held on March 21-24 at the Wolstein Center.
The Vikings were up against stiff competition, which included Notre Dame University, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, Wayne State University, Detroit Mercy University and Lawrence University. The women’s team for Northwestern, both teams from Ohio State and Noter Dame rank in the top 10 nationally.
In the men’s foil event, freshman Ahmad Taqi finished seventh, the highest finishing men’s Viking on the day. Taqi was one of five Vikings to compete in the men’s foil, with John Wenger placing ninth and freshman Will Waters placing 10th.
Representing the Vikings in the men’s epee event were freshman Ian Wu and junior Jonah Kasallis, who finished 10th and 11th, respectively.
For the women, Viking freshman Abigail Barr and Claire Maltman both placed 11th in the epee and foil events, respectively. Barr and Maltman tied for the highest placing woman for the team on the day.
Freshman Dorian Pichola placed 12th in the women’s saber, the lone Cleveland State competitor in the event.
This event capped off a season where the men’s team compiled a 19-18 record, while the women finished the season with a record of 11-29. The high points of the season were the Case Western Duals and the Midwestern Conference Championships.
At the Case Western Duals, the men’s team finished the day 6-0, with freshman Sawyer Cornett, Waters and junior Jakarri Kent going 18-0, 17-1 and 16-2 respectively in the men’s foil. In the men’s epee event, senior Griffin Winterman, freshman Brodee Bocek, and Wu also put up impressive records, with Winterman going 17-1 and Bocek and Wu going 16-2.
For the women, freshman Shelbie Seeberg and Maltman went 18-0 and 16-2 respectively in the women’s foil event. Barr went 18-0 in the women’s epee event, while Pichola went 13-4 in the women’s saber event.
At the Midwest Conference Championships, Cleveland State finished eighth with 1,009 points. The men’s foil team defeated Oberlin University, Purdue University and Northwestern. The quartet of Cornett, Kent, Taqi and Wenger fell to Ohio State.
The women’s team also had a strong showing in the foil event, finishing fifth, beating Indiana University, Lawrence and Detroit Mercy. The only loss for the trio of Maltman, Pichola and Seeberg was to Wayne State in the quarterfinals.
For the first time in school history, Cleveland State will host the NCAA Fencing National Championship.
The event is expected to bring in $350,000 in revenue to the region. Notre Dame is the reigning two-time national champions and will seek to defend its crown.