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CSU fencer Duchow earns NCAA Championship berth

By Lalita Smith

This season, Cleveland State University’s fencing team not only broke out—they broke records.

The men’s fencing team finished with a regular season record of 22-13, its best finish since 2007—the women’s team finished with a record of 15-20, their best finish since 1997.

The Vikings also boasted a fourth place finish at the Midwest Conference Championship—their best finish since the fencing team joined the conference in 1931.

“I think the team has steadily been operating better together, there’s better cohesiveness, there’s better support,” said Coach Tulleners.

With a team that was nearly half comprised of freshman players—there may have been many fans who didn’t have high hopes for the success of this year’s squad.

But the Vikings didn’t let a little inexperience deter them, if anything it may have made them better.

“We’ve got a great level of diversity of skill level, in some cases the more experienced fencers are learning how to help less experienced fencers most effectively,” said Tulleners.

The Vikings are also working with a full women’s squad this season—something they hadn’t always had in previous seasons.

And although five of the nine women players are freshmen—Tulleners already feels as though that is an improvement.

“To go from not a full squad to a full squad has been an improvement at the start, that’s been incredible.”

Coming to the end of their already record setting season, the

Vikings also had a record breaking 13 players qualify for the NCAA Midwest Regional, including an impressive six freshmen—the regionals were held in Detroit on March 8 and 9.

At regionals, five of the 13 Vikings who participated finished with top 12 wins.

One of those five was sophomore Paul Duchow, who not only led the team, but finished fourth in the tournament and also qualified for the NCAA Championships.

Duchow finished the season with a 21-16 record and also holds a remarkable 70-25 career record.
Since 1931, this is the seventh time the Vikings have had a player advance to the NCAA Championships.

“My main goal has been accomplished on being a part of the NCAA Championships. Coach Tulleners has provided a great mentality for me.”

“He told me to only worry about touches and bouts and not to focus on anything else, whether it was stats and records,” said Duchow in a recent press release.

Duchow is one of 144 fencers chosen to compete in this year’s NCAA Championship—which will be hosted by Ohio State University at the French Fieldhouse in Columbus, Ohio, beginning March 20.