Senior Ferenc Valkai finished second in men's saber for third-consecutive year at the NCAA Fencing Championships.

Fencing

St. John's Places Fourth At 2016 NCAA Fencing Championships

March 27, 2016

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WALTHAM, Mass. - With 161 total points, St. John's will be bringing some hardware back to Queens as the Red Storm placed fourth at the 2016 NCAA Fencing Championships, which concluded Sunday at the Gosman Sports and Convocation Center.

Led by Head Coach Yury Gelman, St. John's extended its streak of finishing sixth or better at the national championships to 21 years. Eight of the Red Storm's 12 competitors earned All-American honors, including three First Team members - senior Ferenc Valkai (Gödöllö, Hungary), juniors Yevgeniy Karyuchenko (Kharkiv, Ukraine) and Mathilda Taharo (Lyon, France).


Columbia claimed its second-consecutive national championship and its 15th overall with 174 points, while Ohio State placed second with 167. Columbia is the first repeat NCAA Fencing champion since Penn State in 2009 and 2010. It's the Lions' fourth overall combined title since the championship went to this format in 1990. They also won back-to-back titles in 1992 and 1993.

Princeton and St. John's each finished with 161 points, with the Tigers edging the Red Storm on indicator, 147-106. Notre Dame was just behind in fifth place with 160 points. The St. John's women's team compiled 74 points in the first two days of competition, while the men's squad picked up 87 points.


St. John's was one of four schools that qualified the maximum 12 fencers, with six on the men's team and six for the women's squad. The others were Columbia, Notre Dame and Princeton.

Women's Recap

In women's saber, Taharo and senior Margaret McDonald-Smith (Atlanta, Ga.) both earned All-American honors. Making her first NCAA appearance, Taharo did not disappoint as she tied for third place overall to claim the bronze medal. The Lyon, France, native went 15-8 in pool play to earn the No. 3 seed as she headed into the semifinals to face No. 2 seed Gracie Stone (Princeton). The Red Storm newcomer battled with Stone early in the bout, but eventually fell, 15-8. McDonald-Smith, who was making her third NCAA appearance, improved on her 15th place finish from a year ago. The Atlanta, Ga., native earned second-team All-American honors after tallying a 13-10 record to finish eighth overall.

Graduate student Marta Hausman (Atlanta, Ga.) and senior Irene Spezzamonte (Spinea, Italy) both are no strangers to the NCAA championships. Hausman was making her fourth-consecutive appearance and Spezzamonte was making her third-straight. Hausman finished sixth overall after going 16-7 to earn second-team All-American honors, while Spezzamonte placed 20th.

Veronika Zuikova (Tallinn, Estonia) made huge strides on the strip in just her second season. The sophomore notched her first-career All-American honor after placing eighth with a 13-10 record, which was an improvement from 12th a year ago. Her classmate Ally Ryf (Houston, Texas) finished 15th in her first NCAA championships.


Men's Recap

For the third-consecutive year, Valkai finished as the runner-up in men's saber. The senior earned the No. 3 seed after registering a 16-7 record in pool play. In the second semifinal, Valkai avenged his 2014 loss to Kaito Streets (Penn State), 15-11, which set up a rematch of the 2015 final, which was against Andrew Mackiewicz (Penn State). Valkai started strong and took an 8-6 lead at the halfway point. Mackiewicz scored the first three points after the break to go ahead, 9-8, and pulled away for a 15-11 win. Senior Roman Sydorenko (Kiev, Ukraine), a two-time bronze medalist, did not make it to the semifinals for the first time in two years. Sydorenko earned second-team All-American honors after placing ninth with a 14-9 mark.


Making his fourth NCAA appearance, graduate student Michele Caporizzi (Milan, Italy) finished 13th with a 13-10 record in men's foil, while sophomore Andras Nemeth (Budapest, Hungary) placed 15th for the second-consecutive year.

Leading the men's epee squad was Karyuchenko, who was the 2014 NCAA champion in the event. The junior missed the championships last season, but he made up for lost time as he earned the No. 3 seed in the semifinals with a 17-6 record in pool play. Karyuchenko faced No. 2 seed Marc-Antoine Blais (Ohio State) in a close bout that was tied late, but Blais would come away with the narrow victory (15-14) to advance to the final. Karyuchenko finished tied for third-place to claim the bronze medal in just his second NCAA appearance. Curtis McDowald (Jamaica, N.Y.) capped his impressive sophomore season with his first-career All-American honor after placing sixth overall with a 15-8 record.


About the NCAA Fencing Championships

The 144 total fencers compete in a round-robin format of five-touch bouts. After the round-robin, the top-four finishers in each weapon will fence in semifinal 15-touch bouts, with the winners fencing to determine first and second places, and the non-advancing fencers being awarded a tie for third place.

An institution's place finish in the championships will be based on points earned by each individual. A team will be awarded one point for each victory by its student-athletes for the duration of the championships.

St. John's NCAA Fencing Championship History

Since men's and women's teams began competing together in 1990, St. John's has won one NCAA Championship (2001), has made five runner-up finishes (1995, 2000, 2002, 2007, 2010). The Red Storm has had 22 individual NCAA champions.

Watch Replay on ESPN3

Live coverage of the 2016 NCAA Fencing Championships will be available on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. An hour-long special will be featured on ESPNU at 2:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, April 6.

St. John's Individual Results/Records from the 2016 NCAA Fencing Championships

Men's Saber
Ferenc Valkai, Sr. (Gödöllö, Hungary)
- 2nd place - Silver Medalist, (17-8)

- First-team All-American

Roman Sydorenko, Sr. (Kiev, Ukraine)
- 9th place, (14-9)

- All-American Honorable Mention

Men's Foil
Michele Caporizzi, Gr. (Milan, Italy)
- 13th place, (13-10)


- Andras Nemeth, So. (Budapest, Hungary)
15th place, (12-11)


Men's Epee
Yevgeniy Karyuchenko, Jr. (Kharkiv, Ukraine)

- T-3rd place - Bronze Medalist, (17-7)
- First-team All-American

Curtis McDowald, So. (Jamaica, N.Y.)
- 6th place, (15-8)

- Second-team All-American

Women's Saber
Mathilda Taharo, Jr. (Lyon, France)
- T-3rd place - Bronze Medalist, (15-9)

- First-team All-American

Margaret McDonald-Smith, Sr. (Atlanta, Ga.)
- 8th place, (13-10)

- Second-team All-American

Women's Foil
Marta Hausman, Gr. (Torun, Poland)
- 6th place, (16-7)

- Second-team All-American

Irene Spezzamonte, Sr. (Spinea, Italy)
- 20th place, (6-17)


Women's Epee
Veronika Zuikova, So. (Tallinn, Estonia)
- 8th place, (13-10)

- Second-team All-American

Ally Ryf, So. (Houston, Texas)
- 15th place, (11-12)

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