Fencing gig beat out law school for Olympic coach Sobalvarro

  • Article by: RACHEL BLOUNT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 30, 2012 - 12:54 PM

Macalester College grad Ro Sobalvarro has led the Twin Cities Fencing Club for 20 years.

hide

Ro Sobalvarro and Susie Scanlan

Photo: Brian Peterson, Dml - Star Tribune Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

LONDON - Upon his graduation from Macalester College, Ro Sobalvarro thought he might go to law school. He also thought he might move away from Minnesota, where he had lived his entire life.

Neither of those things happened. A fencer and tennis player in college, Sobalvarro was offered a job as a fencing coach and found his life's work in a familiar place. Now in his 20th year as head coach of the Twin Cities Fencing Club in St. Paul, the Owatonna native will make his debut as an Olympic coach when the women's epee competition begins Monday in London.

Sobalvarro will guide longtime pupil Susie Scanlan in Monday's individual competition and then lead the U.S. women in the team event Saturday. Scanlan, ranked 41st in the world, opens against No. 64 Olena Kryvytska of Ukraine in the round of 64 (4:30 a.m.). Courtney Hurley and Maya Lawrence -- who will join Scanlan in the team event -- received byes into the round of 32.

Several of Sobalvarro's fencers have made national teams in the past, and he has coached U.S. teams in many international events. Scanlan is his first Olympian, adding another highlight to his long career.

"I was going to be a lawyer,'' Sobalvarro said. "But I graduated from college and was offered a job starting a fencing program at a high school. Then I applied to enter an elite coaching program with USA Fencing, and they put me in it.

"I got that job, and it got interesting. There's nothing like staying interested in what you're doing.''

Scanlan said she feels little pressure for the individual competition. She has found it motivational to live in the athletes' village, where she is around thousands of world-class athletes in many sports.

China and Romania's fencers are among the favorites, as each country has three athletes ranked in the top eight in the world. Laura Flessel-Colovic of France is a three-time Olympic medalist; with five medals in her career, she is France's most decorated female Olympian.

The U.S. team will face Italy in the quarterfinals of the eight-country team event. The Americans have done well internationally, but Scanlan said team competitions often come down to a single touch, meaning they will have to summon all their tenacity.

"The team competition could be extraordinarily tight,'' Sobalvarro said. "Everyone has been inconsistent, and it's going to be very hard to predict. What we have to do as individuals is try to be fearless. Our team is capable of great things.''

  • related content

  • St. Paul fencer Scanlan loses opening match

    Monday July 30, 2012

    Fencer Susie Scanlan of St. Paul lost her opening match, falling to Ukraine's Olena Krybytska 15-13 Monday morning in the epee competition.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 0 FINAL
Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison 2
Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: F. Doubront 5 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: J. Masterson 1
Cincinnati - LP: A. Simon 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 3
Minnesota 2 Bottom 7th Inning
Baltimore 2
Philadelphia 6 Top 9th Inning
NY Mets 2
Miami 4 Top 9th Inning
Atlanta 0
Boston 0 Top 8th Inning
Tampa Bay 7
Cleveland 1 Bottom 8th Inning
Kansas City 0
Detroit 5 Bottom 8th Inning
Chicago WSox 0
Texas - LP: P. Klein 0 FINAL
Houston - WP: S. Feldman 2
Colorado 1 Top 7th Inning
Arizona 0
Chicago Cubs 1 Bottom 5th Inning
St. Louis 1
Los Angeles 0 Bottom 4th Inning
San Diego 1
Milwaukee 0 Bottom 3rd Inning
San Francisco 0
Oakland 0 Top 3rd Inning
LA Angels 0
Washington 2 Bottom 2nd Inning
Seattle 0
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
(7) UCLA 28 FINAL
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Massachusetts 7
West Virginia 23 FINAL
(2) Alabama 33
Rice 17 FINAL
(17) Notre Dame 48
(10) South Dakota St 18 FINAL
(24) Missouri 38
Fla Atlantic 7 FINAL
(22) Nebraska 55
California 31 FINAL
Northwestern 24
Marshall 42 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 27
UC Davis 0 FINAL
(11) Stanford 45
Arkansas 21 FINAL
(6) Auburn 45
(16) Clemson 21 FINAL
(12) Georgia 45
Liberty 29 FINAL
(23) North Carolina 56
Ohio U 17 FINAL
Kent State 14
Louisiana Tech 3 3rd Qtr 2:12
(4) Oklahoma 41
Stephen F Austin 16 3rd Qtr 1:21
(20) Kansas State 42
Fresno State 13 3rd Qtr 8:56
(15) USC 37
Southern Miss 0 3rd Qtr 10:52
Miss State 35
Texas-El Paso 24 3rd Qtr
New Mexico 7
North Texas 0 3rd Qtr
Texas 21
(1) Florida State 17 3rd Qtr
Oklahoma State 10
(14) Wisconsin 10 1st Qtr 5:07
(13) LSU 0
Idaho 0 Delayed
Florida 0
South Dakota 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 0 FINAL
Seattle 1
New England 3 FINAL
Toronto FC 0
Columbus 0 FINAL
Montreal 2
FC Dallas 0 2nd Half 44:55
Chicago 0
Real Salt Lake 9:30 PM
San Jose
Portland 9:30 PM
Vancouver FC
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Chicago 70 FINAL
Indiana 77
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pm
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pm
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. TBA
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Gophers in their season opener

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close