March 10, 2018
By Joanne Norell
CLEVELAND, Ohio – The University of Notre Dame fencing program claimed six top-three finishes Saturday at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships – including two gold medalists – in its quest to send the maximum number of competitors to the NCAA Championships later this month.
Midwest region fencers can qualify up to six competitors in women’s foil, five in women’s epee and men’s sabre and four in women’s sabre, men’s epee and men’s foil. Placement at the NCAA regional competition accounts for 60 percent of a participant’s selection into the Championships with Fencer’s Seeding Factor (FSF) accounting for the other 40 percent. The regional champion will automatically be considered for allocation for recommendation to participate in the championships and, if a school has more than two qualifiers, it will be an institutional decision as to who will be recommended.
How It Happened
Four Irish women snared medals, with gold going to junior foilist Sabrina Massialas, who went 13-1 with a +48 indicator, and junior epeeist Amanda Sirico, who posted an 11-2 mark with a +25 indicator. Junior foilist Elyssa Kleiner (12-2, +30) snared silver, as did junior sabreuse Tara Hassett (9-2, +13).
Senior sabreuse Francesca Russo (7-4, +14) placed fourth, while freshman epeeist Dasha Yefremenko (9-4, +17) placed fifth and junior epeeist Julia Barry (9-4, +7).
The men’s team added two more medalists in foilist Axel Kiefer (5-1, +11) and Nick Itkin (3-3, +6), who finished second and third, respectively. In sabre, senior Jonathan Fitzgerald finished fifth, while classmate Jonah Shainberg placed sixth. Sophomore Ariel Simmons, senior Nicholas Hanahan and junior Dylan French finished fourth, fifth and sixth in epee, respectively.
The Irish will learn their NCAA fate on Tuesday, March 13, when the final selections for the NCAA Championships are announced. This year’s championship will take place March 22-25 at Penn State University.
NCAA Midwest Regional Championship
March 10, 2017
2. Tara Hassett (9-2, +13)
4. Francesca Russo (7-4, +14)
1. Sabrina Massialas (13-1, +48)
2. Elyssa Kleiner (12-2, +30)
8. Stefani Deschner (7-7, +11)
1. Amanda Sirico (11-2, +25)
5. Dasha Yefremenko (9-4, +17)
6. Julia Barry (9-4, +7)
11. Katherine Wallace (4-9, -16)
12. Marie-Anne Roche (3-10, -14)
5. Jonathan Fitzgerald (6-3, +11)
6. Jonah Shainberg (4-5, +6)
2. Axel Kiefer (5-1, +11)
3. Nick Itkin (3-3, +6)
4. Ariel Simmons (5-3, +3)
5. Nicholas Hanahan (5-3, +2)
6. Dylan French (4-4, -4)
Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2014 and coordinates communications efforts for the Notre Dame men’s tennis and fencing programs, in addition to assisting with football communications and overseeing production of the football Gameday Magazine. Norell is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University and earned her master’s degree from Georgetown University in 2013.