ROCKAWAY, NJ - Senior Liam Rooney won his third-round epee bout to clinch the match in 12th-seeded Chatham's 15-12 upset over No. 5 Morris Hills in the NJSIAA boys fencing tournament "Sweet 16" round on Friday.

Chatham advances to the NJSIAA quarterfinal round to face No. 4 Wayne Hills on Tuesday.

Rooney, 2-1 in epee, won his third-round bout, 5-2, to clinch for the Cougars and senior Vincent Maddi, also 2-1, won his third epee bout, 5-2.

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Sophomore Darren Yen was undefeated in sabre and senior Miles Chrusciel posted a 2-1 sabre mark for Chatham.

Sophomore Zak Zeareban and senior Jack Dean each went 2-1 in foil for the Cougars.

Senior Nick Blaskey helped turn the tide for Chatham in his opening round battle with Morris Hills epee Jay Connell. Blaskey's win gave round one to Chatham, 5-4.

"With the score at 3-1 for Connell, the two got into some face to face in-fighting. Nick would not give in until he scored his touch, 3-2," Chatham coach Jerry Duffey said. "The on-top-of-each-other actions kept on coming and each time Blaskey made sure Connell quit first, 4-3 for Blaskey. Nick closed out the bout and round one with a quick double touch."

Round 2 Recap

The sabre squad regrouped for round two and Yen stepped up with a 5-1 win. Sabre Squad Captain, senior Miles Chrusciel, followed with a 5-2 win. Hills' A-strip took the third sabre bout. MHHS took the first foil bout of round two. Jack Dean edged out his opponent for a 5-4 win. Hills took the third foil bout. The home team rotation worked well for the Chatham epees. Epee Squad Captain Senior Rooney handed in a 5-2 win, followed by Maddi's string of 5 touches for a 5-1. Hills' took the third epee bout. Round two added another 5-4 bout set for a score of Chatham 10, Morris Hills 8.

Third Round Recap

Yen finished his bouts with a 5-3 win, going undefeated for the night. Chrusciel scored a clean 5-0 for his last bout with Hills. MHHS took the last sabre bout, setting the score to 12-9.

Zeareban added a needed foil win, before Hills took the next two, handing the epee squads a tally of 13-11.

"The Hills' coaches were clearly concerned about the situation as they gambled on sending in a substitute for Connell, putting in a much taller lefty," Duffey said. "The gamble failed. Rooney knew as soon as he landed his first wrist touch that the bout would end in victory for him and the team. His teammates knew it too. Indeed he clinched the meet with a 5-2 win to the thunderous cheers of his teammates and attending parents."

Maddi backed up Rooney with a 5-2 of his own. Blaskey landed a solid double touch for the start of the last bout, though Hills would get the fifth. Round three added another 5-4 bout set for a final score of Chatham 15, Morris Hills 12.

SCORING: Boys' Sabre {5-4} Yen-D (3-0), Chrusciel-M (2-1), Namovic-J (0-3), McCorry-T (-)
Boys' Foil  {5-4} Zeareban-Z (2-1), Dean-J (2-1), Styple-B (1-2), Wiedemer-A (-)
Boys' Epee  {5-4} Rooney-L (2-1), Maddi-V (2-1), Blaskey-N (1-2), Sakthivelavan-S (-)
          {15-12} [bouts 5/4= +2,-3]