Massialas bounces back
Stanford freshman Massialas comes back to take first in foil
SAN ANTONIO -- Stanford freshman Alex Massialas emerged as the men's foil champion on Friday at the NCAA Fencing Championships at Freeman Coliseum.
Massialas, who was fourth in the round-robin competition, defeated David Willette of Penn State 15-10 in the championship bout. He earlier edged Notre Dame's Gerek Meinhardt 15-14 in the semifinals. The round-robin events, consisting of five-touch matchups, determined the final four pairings in each of the fencing weapons.
"I lost two bouts the first day," said Massialas, who hails from San Francisco, just 40 minutes from the Stanford campus. "From there, I told myself, 'I can't look back.' I just tried to go on through and win as many as I could."
Massialas completed the event with an 18-5 record, which counted in the team score. Stanford is currently in eighth place, and the overall team title will be determined after Sunday's women's events.
Even though Massialas is a freshman, this is not his "first rodeo," so to speak, as he was a member of the London U.S. Olympic team. He finished 13th in the individual competition and fourth in the team event at the 2012 Olympic Games. Massialas' NCAA semifinals opponent, Meinhardt, also was an Olympian. In addition, Massialas was a 2011 Pan American Games individual and team champion. Massialas sported third-place finishes at the Paris Senior World Cup, and Seoul Senior World Cup in 2012.
Still, Massialas expressed the highest respect for his first NCAA championship.
"I've obviously had a lot of experience with fencing," Massialas said, "But the NCAAs are a very different game. In those five-touch bouts, anything can happen. It can be a touch or two, and you are down 0-4. Every bout matters if you want to make it to the final four."
Massialas is defintely looking forward to his future at Stanford. He talked about possibly majoring in engineering or computer science, as he is taking all those classes. But, Rio de Janeiro is certainly on his mind for 2016.
"I have aspirations of making it to Rio and getting a medal back, especially a gold one. That has been a dream of mine even before I started fencing," Massialas said.
Massialas is able to train with his father, Gregory, at the Massialas Foundation in San Francisco. Along with Dean Hinton, the elder Massialas is working on making the organization a true foundation. The family wants anyone to be able to fence and be successful, regardless of the financial situation.