CLEVELAND, Ohio – Freshman Ahmad Taqi of the Cleveland State University fencing team started his collegiate career in style by winning the foil discipline at the CSU Fall Open inside Woodling Gymnasium.
For the second straight year, CSU began the season by hosting an open event, and for the second consecutive season, a Viking won one of the disciplines.
Taqi was dominant in winning the foil event, which contained 38 competitors, as he went 10-0 during the event. He began his day by winning all five of his bouts in pool play, only giving up four touches combined in his five-touch bouts. He then proceeded to win his opening three direct elimination matches by scores of 15-6, 15-5 and 15-6. After claiming a thrilling 15-14 win in the semifinals, Taqi cruised to the title by claiming a 15-4 win in the finals.
Freshman Declan Forth also had a fine showing in his debut collegiate event as he placed second in the saber. Forth went 6-1 to win his pool with his only loss coming via a 5-4 decision. He then won his first three bracket matches to reach the final before coming up one win short of a title. Nevertheless, Forth placed four spots higher than he was seeded entering the event.
Sophomore Burton Hirschman was CSU's highest finisher in the epee event, tying for fifth in the field of 42 competitors. He went unbeaten in pool play and then won his first two bracket bouts to place 10 spots higher than he was seeded entering the day.
Sophomore Vincenzo Trovato placed 10th in the foil event, placing five spots higher than he was seeded. Trovato placed second in his pool with a 4-2 mark, with his losses coming by 5-4 and 5-3 margins. After earning a bye, he then won his first direct elimination match before falling, 15-14, in the quarterfinal round. Trovato also competed in the epee, where he won two bouts in pool play while also suffering two 5-4 defeats. He won his first bracket match before falling in the second round.
Four other Vikings won three matches in pool play—Zachary Clark (epee), Jonah Kasallis (epee), Jakarri Kent (foil) and Sarah Mok (foil). Kasallis finished second in his pool before dropping a 15-13 bout in the second bracket round. Kent posted an upset win in the second bracket round before losing while Clark and Mok lost in direct elimination by scores of 15-14 and 15-12, respectively.