Lee captures saber competition at fencing tourney

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St. John’s fencer Ivan Lee continued his superb year by winning the Division I men’s saber competition at the United States Fencing Championships last week in Sacramento, Calif. The Brooklynite was one of three Red Storm fencers to win medals at the competition.

Lee, who already won the NCAA title in the saber leading the Red Storm to its first fencing national championship, was also named NCAA Fencer of the Year, captured the silver medal in the Junior World Championships and won the bronze in the first Senior World Cup. The Brooklyn Tech grad is the top-ranked male nationally and is 40th in the world in saber.

“This is Ivan’s first senior title and I’m really happy for him,” said St. John’s fencing coach Yuri Gelman. “He’s shown he is clearly the best in the United States. Ivan just dominated at this event.”

Also capturing medals were senior Jon Tiomkin, also from Brooklyn, who finished third in the foil, and sophomore Darrin Whitmer, who took third in the saber.

“It was also good to see Jon fence as he did,” Gelman said. “He’s got a great deal of talent and showed that he can fence with the best. It was also a strong showing for Darrin and I’m looking forward to seeing him fence next year.”

Incoming St. John’s fencers Julie Gelman — Yuri’s daughter — took the silver in the women’s saber and Christina Crane, who last year won the championship at Senior Nationals, finished in eighth place.

Yuri Gelman, who is also the head coach of the U.S. National Team, will be holding a camp at the Manhattan Fencer’s Club where members of the U.S. team will workout with the German National Team.

Gelman and the team will then depart for Monticello for a two-week training camp as a final preparation for the Senior World Championship to be held in France in October. Gelman, Lee and former St. John’s fencer Keeth Smart as well as other team members will travel to Moscow to compete in a World Cup Sept. 22-23.

SJU Track still winning on and off the oval

Michelle Hickman placed ninth in the long jump at the USA Track and Field Championships last month in Eugene, Ore. with a leap of 41-7 1/2. Her impressive showing in Oregon capped a year in which she finished in the top 10 at several major events.

Hickman also placed seventh at the USA Indoor Championships and eighth in the NCAA Outdoor Championships. By being the third collegiate finisher at the USA outdoor meet, she is eligible to be selected to the USA World University Games to be held in Beijing. Final selections for the U.S. team were slated to be made Wednesday.

St. John’s 5- and 10-kilometer record holder Chris Graff, who graduated in 1998, placed eighth in the 10,000-meter run at the USA Championships.

Red Storm senior Jose Zayas won both the 1,500-meter and the 5,000-meter runs at the Dominican Republic National Championships last month in his native Dominican Republic to become a two-time national champion.

Zayas, who sat out the entire year at St. John’s with a knee injury, will represent the Dominican Republic at the Caribbean Games Championships in Guatemala later this month and also hopes to compete in the World University Games in China.

The St. John’s women’s cross country team received an impressive honor off the course as it was named an All-American All-Academic team by the Women’s Intercollegiate Cross Country Association for the first time in the program’s history. The team’s 3.22 grade-point average ranked 67th of the 99 teams that qualified for the honor by having a 3.0 or better.

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.

Posted 7:15 pm, October 10, 2011
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