Red Storm Men Win St. John's Fencing Invitational Title

Ferenc Valkai went 14-1 to lead the men's squad to the 2017 St. John's Fencing Invitational title.
Jan. 21, 2017

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QUEENS, N.Y. – Facing five of the top seven schools in the nation according to the latest CollegeFencing360 Coaches Poll, the St. John’s men team was crowned invitational champion after going 3-2 with victories over Harvard, Notre Dame and the two-time defending national champion Columbia on Saturday afternoon at Taffner Field House.

The men’s team was led by two of its saber fencers Ferenc Valkai, who went a team-best 14-1 on the afternoon, and Ben Natanzon picked up 12 wins in 15 bouts. Each of them picked up wins over Eli Dershwitz, who competed for Team USA at the 2016 Rio Olympics. As a team, the men’s saber squad recorded the most wins of any Red Storm squad going 27-18.

Three Red Storm fencers in the men’s epee competition registered at least seven wins with Cooper Schumacher tallying seven, Curtis McDowald recorded eight and Yevgeniy Karyuchenko led the epee team with nine triumphs. Andras Nemeth, a junior from Budapest, Hungary, was outstanding on the strip all afternoon against fierce competition, posting a 12-3 record in men’s foil.

One of the highlights of the invitational was the Red Storm’s men’s squad taking down the two-time defending champion and current top-ranked team in the CollegeFencing360 Coaches Poll, Columbia by a score of 15-12.

The women’s squad, which boasts a very young squad that features nine underclassmen, came in sixth place at the invitational against some of the best fencers at the collegiate level.

Fencing in her first-career invitational, the newcomer Karolina Cieslar went a stellar 11-4 on the piste in the women’s saber competition. The rookie was not flustered at all against the great saber fencers the other programs had to offer.

Veronika Zuikova continued her solid year with 11 wins, tying Cieslar for the most victories by a Red Storm female fencer on the afternoon. In the women’s epee competition as well, Ally Ryf and Olivia Xu combined for 10 wins on the strip, as the squad registered 21 wins to lead the Johnnies.


The Johnnies will hit the strip tomorrow for the NYU Invitational, which is hosted by Columbia University. The Red Storm takes on Columbia, Notre Dame, NYU and Wayne State to wrap up its busy weekend of fencing.

The rest of the complete team and individual results are listed below:


St. John’s: 3-2
Penn State: 3-2
Notre Dame: 3-2
Ohio State: 3-2
Columbia: 2-3
Harvard: 1-4


Round 1: St. John’s 14, Harvard 13
Round 2: Ohio State 16, St. John’s 11
Round 3: Penn State 14, St. John’s 13
Round 4: St. John’s 15, Notre Dame 12
Round 5: St. John’s 15, Columbia 12


Columbia: 5-0
Notre Dame: 4-1
Harvard: 2-3
Penn State: 2-3
Ohio State: 2-3
St. John’s: 0-5


Round 1: Harvard 19, St. John’s 8
Round 2: Ohio State 20, St. John’s 7
Round 3: Penn State 19, St. John’s 8
Round 4: Notre Dame 20, St. John’s 7
Round 5: Columbia 21, St. John’s 6


Men’s Saber (27-18)

Ferenc Valkai, 14-1
Ben Natanzon, 12-3
Deniz Berkay, 1-14

Men’s Foil (16-29)
Andras Nemeth, 12-3
Hunter Williams-Burrows, 4-11
Jayson Shu, 0-10
Luke Kitagawa, 0-5

Men’s Epee (24-21)
Yevgeniy Karyuchenko, 9-6
Curtis McDowald, 8-6
Cooper Schumacher, 7-6
Alex Cotter, 0-1
Shomari Moore, 0-2

Women’s Saber (12-33)
Karolina Cieslar, 11-4
Mathilda Taharo, 1-6
Kailyn Gillick, 0-15
Forfeited eight bouts due to Taharo injury

Women’s Foil (2-43)
Kaylee Herndon, 2-13
Jennifer Grocki, 0-6
Destiny McIntosh, 0-9
Judith Russell, 0-15

Women’s Epee (21-24)
Veronika Zuikova, 11-4
Ally Ryf, 6-9
Olivia Xu, 4-8
Melissa Gillick, 0-3




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