Aquinas Academy fencers improving ahead of postseason push

Friday, February 21, 2020 | 6:02 PM

With just a couple of matches left in the regular season, the Aquinas Academy fencing teams still are jostling for at-large qualifying bids for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Fencing Association league postseason championship tournament.

Both the boys and girls teams have a 2-4 record.

Because of the significant logjam in the standings, though, both are far from out of the playoff hunt. And considering the level of improvement coach John Carroll has seen with his groups throughout the season, it’s not far fetched to believe Aquinas still will have a say in how the PIFA season plays out.

“Our motto is ‘strength through adversity.’ We’ve been dealing with a lot of adversity this year. Our teams are all sophomores. We have one freshman on each of the teams, but the rest are sophomores. It’s a really young group,” Carroll said.

“We might have not won every match up until this point, but we are facing adversity, we’re learning from it and we’re gaining from it. In reality, we’re accomplishing our task. Both teams are 2-4, but I’m confident that we’re going to perform at our best in our remaining matches. I think that we have done well, and we’re continuing to get better.”

The girls team has been led by captain Sejal Sharma, whom Carroll said has been scoring plenty of touches for the Crusaders. Meanwhile, Joanna Knight has developed into a productive fencer who has flourished while learning a defensively oriented style of play.

Carroll also noted Izzi Trevino and Grace Burchill are improving drastically as newcomers to the team.

Captain Sam Everson and returning letterman Steven Giacobbe have been anchors for the Aquinas boys.

Carroll said he expected success from those two, and they’ve delivered. On the other hand, the team’s younger boys fencers have been a pleasant surprise.

“My freshman, Hunter Harrison, he’s made some really significant improvements, and Will Hoerster has improved his lunge significantly, as well. My other boys, Sam Henry and Andy D’Angelo, they’ve been performing well, too. When I look at the boys team, the future is really bright,” Carroll said.

“We have two eighth graders that practice with us, and they give the varsity guys a run for their money sometimes. Ben Everson, the middle school captain, and Even Gounaris, they’re bright spots for the future for us.”

For now, Aquinas Academy will focus on qualifying for the PIFA championships, which will take place at a time, date and location yet to be determined.


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