Dean Ischiropoulus has one goal this year—to participate in his second consecutive NCAA tournament. But to achieve that, the sophomore epée has to fence first.
Ischiropoulos will be the only Blue Devil traveling to Kansas City, Mo., to participate in the November edition of the U.S. Fencing Association North American Cup, which runs Friday through Monday. For the sophomore from Media, Pa., the event hosting more than 200 national and foreign fencers marks his first fall tournament, as he did not compete in the summer and did not attend the NAC’s October edition in Richmond, Va.
“It will be a good benchmark to see where I am at,” Ischiropoulus said. “I’m looking to do well because that would mean that I’m at a good spot. But if I don’t, [I will] know what I need to work on heading into January so I can be ready to go for our first meet.”
In his first year as a Blue Devil, Ischiropoulus posted a squad-high 37-26 record in the epée category. He captured third place at the ACC Championships in Chapel Hill in February and earned a seventh-place finish in the Mid-Atlantic/South Regional tournament hosted at Duke one month later.
Even though the epée squad collectively posted just a 10-11 record, Ischiropoulus and his teammates earned a bronze medal and defeated North Carolina and Boston College at the ACC Championships. The epées had already beaten the Tar Heels in the Duke Meet Feb. 7.
“The main thing that I’m looking to be good at is to be mentally focused and prepared for real competition," Ischiropoulus said. "I’ll be happy if I can do that because then the physical part of [the competition] will flow and everything will work out.”
Get Overtime, all Duke athletics
Signup for our editorially curated, weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.
Ischiropoulus’ season culminated last spring with a trip to Columbus, Ohio, to participate in the NCAA Fencing Championships, where the freshman finished 18th, claiming nine bout victories.
“I look forward to seeing what Dean will be doing,” Duke head coach Alex Beguinet said. “He has experience so we’ll see what happens. I think he’ll do well.”
Ischiropoulus and the Blue Devils start their spring slate Jan. 16 in State College, Pa., where they will compete at the Penn State Duals.