While Drew students deserted campus to get away for spring break, the fencing team remained to conclude their impressive season at their respective championships. The men’s team placed fifth out of fifteen teams in the Middle Atlantic Collegiate Fencing Association (MACFA) hosted by Lafayette College. This is the highest the Rangers have placed in this tournament, which features Division I, II and III teams. Adding to the team’s impressive finish, Head Coach Vincent Paragano received the MACFA Coach of the Year award, which is awarded by other coaches in the tournament. This is the first time that Paragano has received the award during his time at Drew. The women’s team also had an impressive showing, coming in sixth at the National Intercollegiate Women’s Fencing Association (NIWFA) championships hosted by Army West Point.
Andrew Pidhorodeckyj (‘19) placed third in epee, taking home a bronze medal as well as helping the epee squad post a 29-13 record in the competition. Michael Rotondo (‘21) and Jeremy Ferreira (‘21) joined Pidhorodeckyj on the epee squad; they combined for a fifth place finish overall. The sabre team compiled a 27-15 record, highlighted by Nathan Milgram (‘21) posting a 9-2 record. Nick Kilgore (‘21) led the foil squad with an 8-6 record and the squad finished with a 24-18 record overall at the tournament.
Paragano was quite proud of his team’s performance, pointing out that six of the nine starters were freshman. He believes that this tournament is indicative of a turning point for the program as the strong finish by the team, especially the freshman, will help the team gain momentum to build the program.
The women’s team took sixth place at the NIWFA tournament. The NIWFA is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year as it is the second-oldest women’s collegiate athletic conference in the country.
Lydia Segal (‘20) paced the Rangers for the tournament, posting a 7-2 record overall in the foil. This was a strong enough record to qualify her for the individual championship round, in which she finished sixth.
Three Rangers were competing in their final team competition, as Pearl Sutter (‘18), Lauren Gonnelli (‘18) and Natalya Shcherban (‘18) are all graduating in May. Sutter led the sabre squad, posting six wins and Gonnelli earned five wins in epee. Paragano spoke fondly about his graduating class, as he noted not only their impressive performances during their time but also their dedication to the team and making their teammates better.
Twelve Rangers continued on to NCAA Regionals, where only the top 36 fencers of each weapon qualify. Half of the Rangers who qualified were freshman, making Paragano hopeful for the program’s future. Rotondo became the first Ranger to advance to the semifinal round in men’s epee in four years. He finished 18th in the final standings for the event. Pidhorodeckyj picked up a 33rd place finish in the same even and Jeremy Ferreira (‘21) finished in 36th overall. Milgram also qualified for the advanced round, earning a 19th place finish in the men’s sabre. Ryan Baldi (‘21) and Steven Horiuchi (‘19) finished in 27th and 31st in the event, respectively.
On the women’s side, Caitlin Kotz (‘19) and Segal represented the Rangers in foil, finishing 26th and 35th place. The Rangers had four women qualify for the sabre; Sutter finished 26th, Emily Huber (‘21) finished 29th, Shcherban earned 31st place and Kayla Ogden (‘21) secured a 33rd place finish to round out the competition.