Six individuals on the Cleveland State University Fencing Team, sophomore Logan Shoemaker, freshmen Vincenzo Trovato, Burton Hirschman and Aidan Gillespie, senior Logan Eskew, and senior Rachel Grabowski, the only female from the Cleveland State team, competed in the NCAA Midwest Regional March 11 at Wayne State University in Detroit.
Shoemaker had the highest placement, finishing sixth at the epee event (in which CSU was the second seed behind Ohio State University) with five victories in the five-touch round-robin bouts.
Trovato, who competed in the same event, put up four wins.
Head coach James Fazekas, finishing his second year at CSU, was proud of the epee squad, praising it for being well prepared for the events. “We have a young group of fencers, gaining experience, which is our flaw in the short term, but with added experience it will benefit us in the longterm,” Fazekas said.
Fazekas said he had hoped the individuals competing at regionals would be able to finish inside the top eight or top 12 for experience and momentum for next season. Each of the events had 16 people competing in total.
Indeed, Shoemaker placed in the top six in epee. Trovato finished in the top eight in epee, and Hirschman placed in the top 12 for the same event. Eskew placed in the top 12 in the foil event, and Gillespie finished in the top 12 in the saber event.
Fazekas said junior Sarah Mok (who competes in the foil event), stands out among the female fencers “Mok is one of our strongest technical fencers, and she has a good tactical sound reasoning,” Fazekas said. “She’s made a lot of progress, and the hope is that she can break out next season.”
On the male side, fencer Matthew Gebbett, also a junior, stands out, Fazekas said. “Gebbett comes to us with lots of talent and experience and is fast and technical,” Fazekas said. “Especially against stronger competition, he must improve his stamina and approach to the game.”
Fazekas said both Mok and Gebbett both need training partners at CSU to push them, and is banking on next year’s recruiting class to get stronger fencers to allow that goal to happen.
Photo by Viking Athletics
Cleveland State’s 2016-17 Men’s and Women’s fencing teams finished with a record of 5-3 in team events. The young team is made up of more than half freshmen and sophomores.