March 1, 2002
The Notre Dame fencing teams will welcome 12 other schools to the annual Midwest Fencing Conference Championships, to be held Satuday, March 2 (team competition) and Sunday, March 3 (individual championships) in the Joyce Center Fieldhouse. The top-ranked Notre Dame men are riding a long string of conference titles while the Irish women, currently third-ranked, were nipped by Northwestern at the 2001 MFCs.
Notre Dame – in the last season of retiring head coach Yves Auriol’s career – likely will be without two of its top freshman fencers, as epeeist Michal Sobieraj (26-1 record) continues to come back from a foot injury while foilist Derek Snyder (32-7) is battling illness.
Notre Dame’s top fencers include several with local ties: three-time All-America sabreman Andrzej Bednarski (Granger/Penn HS, 33-11 season record, 152-32 career), senior epeeist Brian Casas (Mishawaka/Mishawaka HS, 37-10, 156-55), two-time All-American junior women’s epee captain Anna Carnick (Mishawaka, 46-8, 140-36) and sophomore women’s sabre Destanie Milo (Knox/Culver Academy, 45-8, 86-20).
Other top fencers for the Irish include senior men’s sabre captain Andre Crompton (42-5, 150-19), junior men’s epee captain Jan Viviani (42-3, 118-14), junior men’s foil captain Ozren Debic (30-2, 114-7), fifth-year women’s sabre captain Carianne McCullough (42-9, 161-38), sophomore women’s epeeist Kerry Walton (50-5), junior women’s epeeist Meagan Call (37-19, 130-42) and junior men’s sabre Matt Fabricant (39-8, 102-17) – plus the talented freshman foil combination of Alicja Kryczalo (39-2) and Andrea Ament (27-2).
THE RANKINGS: The Notre Dame men currently hold the nation’s No. 1 ranking while the Irish women are third in the latest coaches poll … Ohio State’s men (4th) and women (5th) also are ranked, as are the Northwestern women (6th).
THE SCHEDULE: Competition begins each day at 8:00 a.m. and will run to approximately 6:00 p.m. … Saturday’s team competition will feature best-of-9 bouts between each weapon, with the 13 teams pared down to quarterfinalists, semifinalist and then finalists … the individual competition then will follow on Sunday, with the semifinals and finals featuring 15-point bouts.
LIKELY MATCHUPS: Based on the tournament seeding, Notre Dame likely face the following top matchups … men’s epee and men’s foil vs. Ohio State in the semifinals … men’s sabre vs. Wayne State in the semifinals and Ohio State in the finals … women’s epee vs. Northwestern in the semi’s, OSU/WSU in the finals … women’s foil vs. OSU in the semi’s, Northwestern in the finals … women’s sabre vs. Northwestern in the semi’s, OSU in the finals.
THE FIELD: The 13 teams competing include favorites Notre Dame, Ohio State, Wayne State and Northwestern (women), plus Case Western Reserve, Chicago, Cleveland State, Detroit, Lawrence, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Purdue.
SCORING FORMAT: Teams receive 150 points for a first-place finish in each team weapon competition, 135 for second, 125 for third and 115 for fourth, etc.
RECAPPING THE 2001 MFC: The Notre men won all three weapons to run away with the title (450 points, with Ohio State next at 395) while Northwestern’s women narrowly edged the Irish, 425-420 … that battle came down to the final women’s sabre bout, with Kate Frambach’ win giving the Wildcats the clinching 5-4 margin and 150 points to edge past the Irish.
FIVE INDIVIDUAL CHAMPS RETURN: All but one of the 2001 MFC individual champions are set to return for the event, led by three from Notre Dame (the first time that the Irish have swept all three conference titles): senior sabre captain Andre Crompton, senior epeeist Brian Casas and junior foil captain Ozren Debic (who also won the MFC title in 2000) … other returning champions include Ohio State sophomore women’s epeeist Alexander Shklar and Wayne State women’s foilist Inga Wallrabenstein … former OSU fencer Sara Bowen won the 2001 MFC women’s sabre title … five ND fencers also finished as runner-ups in the 2001 MFCs: junior epee captains Jan Viviani and Anna Carnick (both 15-14), fifth-year men’s sabre Andrzej Bednarski (15-7), junior women’s foilist Liza Boutsikaris (15-8) and junior men’s foilist Forest Walton (15-8, currently overseas) … Carnick was the 2000 MFC champ in women’s epee.
CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT HISTORY: Notre Dame has claimed 18 men’s titles, seven women’s titles and eight combined titles during conference tournament action, dating back to 1968 … those events were known as the Great Lakes Championship (1974-91) and the Midwest Intercollegiate Championship (1992-98) before the current Midwest Fencing Conference Championship made its debut in 1999 … teams competed for a combined title from 1992-99 (with the Irish winning all eight) … the ND men have won 18 conseuctive titles/combined titles (since 1984), also winning in 1968, ’70 and ’75-’78 … Wayne State owns six men’s conference championships (’69, ’74, ’79-’83) while Detroit won three titles from 1971-73 … the ND women claimed conference titles in 1974, ’77, ’86, ’87 and ’89-’91, also finishing 2nd eight times, 4th four times and 5th once … WSU has won six women’s titles since 1980 (’80, ’82-’85, ’88) while Northwestern won the 2000 and 2001 titles.
THE ELITE: In addition to several noteworthy newcomers, this weekend’s competition features 21 returning competitors from the 2001 NCAAs, including ND’s past MFC champions Andre Crompton (sabre), Jan Viviani (epee), Ozren Debic (foil) and Anna Carnick (epee), plus epeeists Brian Casas and Meagan Call, foilist Liza Boutsikaris and sabres Andrzej Bednarski, Carianne McCullough, Destanie Milo and Maggie Jordan (foil in ’01) … other returning NCAA fencers include OSU’s Alexandra Shklar (epee) and Colin Parker and Guy Loftin (sabre), Cleveland State foilists Eric McConkey and Marta Roselli, Wayne State sabre Jacob Krochmalski and foilist Inga Wallrabenstein, and three from Northwestern: epeeists Kate Rudkin and Jen Greenebaum and foilist Kristen Dorf.
EARLIER THIS SEASON: Notre Dame beat Ohio State at the OSU Duals (16-11 men, 15-12 women) while the Irish women split two matchups vs. Northwestern this season (12-15 at the Air Force Duals and 23-3 at the OSU Duals) … ND’s win over the OSU men included a 7-2 edge in foil (5-4 in sabre, 4-5 in epee) … the OSU women beat ND in epee and sabre (both 4-5) but the Irish took the match thanks to a 7-2 edge in foil … the first battle between the ND and Northwestern women saw the Wildcats win epee (4-5) and sabre (3-6), with the Irish winning the foil (5-4) … the rematch was not even close, led by 8-1 Irish wins in epee and foil (7-2 in sabre).
ND’S INDIVIDUAL CHAMPIONS: Notre Dame men’s fencers have combined for 33 conference titles (since 1968, no individual championships from 1995-98), including the program’s first sweep of all three weapons in 2001: epeeist Brian Casas (15-14 over teammate Jan Viviani), foilist Ozren Debic (15-8 over classmate Forest Walton) and sabre Andre Crompton (15-7 over ND’s Andrzej Bednarski) … Debic also beat Walton for the 2000 MFC foil title (15-11) while ND’s Anna Carnick was the 2000 MFC epee champ (with a 9-8 win over Northwestern’s Kellie McDonald) … ND women have combined to win 11 conference titles (since 1974, excluding ’95-’98).
INSIDE THE 2001 MFC: Brian Casas’ 15-14 win in the 2001 MFC title bout avenged his 11-9 loss to Jan Viviani in the 2000 MFC semifinals … Viviani won three of four bouts in the team competition, including a 5-4 win over current OSU fencer Willy Jones … ND beat Wayne State, 5-4, for the 2001 MFC women’s epee title … Carnick won all six of her bouts in the team competition before losing to OSU’s Alex Shklar in a close title bout (15-14) … current junior Meagan Call went 5-1 in the women’s epee team competition (including 5-4 win over Wayne State’s Marta Sciubisz to clinch the title) before advancing to the individual semifinals … Ozren Debic won all six of his bouts in the foil team competition before the 15-8 title bout vs. Walton … current senior Steve Mautone won all three of his bouts in the foil team competition and placed 5th in the individual event while his classmate Jeremy Beau was 8th at the 2001 MFCs (5th among ND fencers) … current junior Liza Boutsikaris won all six off her bouts in the women’s foil team competition, including wins over Northwestern’s Kristen Dorf (5-2) and Eva Mendelson (5-1) in the title matchup, before losing to WSU’s Inga Wallrabenstein in the championship bout of the individual competition (15-8) … current sophomore sabre Maggie Jordan was 7th in the 2001 MFC foil competition … Andre Crompton went 6-0 in the team sabre competition, including wins over WSU’s Marc Mathias (5-2) and Jon Ferris (5-0) in the title matchup before beating WSU All-American Jacob Krochmalski in the individual semifinals and besting teammate Andrzej Bednarski (15-7) in the title bout … Bednaski posted a pair of wins vs. OSU in the semifinals and beat Mathias (5-4) in the title round … current junior Matt Fabricant went 4-2 in the sabre team bouts (5-1 vs. Ferris, 3-5 vs. Krochmalski) but did not compete in the individual events … current fifth-year Carianne McCullough went 5-1 in the women’s sabre team competition, with 5-4 wins over Northwestern’s Jessica Brown and Kate Frambach, plus a 5-4 loss to Carly Wells in the title showdown vs. the Wildcats … McCullough lost to eventual champ Sara Bowen of OSU in the semifinals (15-13) … current sophomore Destanie Milo went 4-2, with a 5-2 win over Brown and losses to Wells (5-3) and Frambach, before losing to Wells in the semifinals (15-8).
RESULTS FROM THE 1998-2000 MFCs: Casas was the 1999 men’s epee runner-up, as was Viviani in 2000 (vs. OSU’s Alan Jones) … Carnick won the 2000 women’s epee title, with Call taking 6th … Debic also beat Walton for the 2000 men’s foil title, with Beau placing 7th and Mautone 9th … Boutsikaris reached the 2000 women’s foil semifinals while McCullough was 8th in the 2000 women’s sabre competition … Bednarski was the 1998 men’s sabre runner-up (behind teammate Luke LaValle) and took 5th in 2000, when Fabricant lost to WSU’s Krochmalski in the semifinals while Crompton beat teammate Gabor Szelle in the semi’s (15-6) before losing the title bout to Krockmalski (15-11).
TOP MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
* Jakub Krochmalski, Wayne State – The 2001 NCAA third-place finisher, Krockmalski has won three of five previous bouts vs. ND’s Andre Crompton: 15-11 in the 2000 MFC title bout, 5-4 at the 2001 ND Invitational and 5-2 at the 2002 OSU Duals (Crompton beat him in the 2001 MFC semifinals and the ’01 NCAAs, 5-3) … ND’s Andrzej Bednarski beat Krochmalski at OSU (5-2), after losing to him at the last two NCAAs (1-5, 4-5) … ND junior Matt Fabricant has lost three previous bouts vs. Krochmalski.
* Colin Parker, Ohio State – The 6th-place NCAA finisher in 2001, Parker has dropped three recent bouts to Crompton (5-4 at the 2001 Duke Invitational, 5-4 at the ’01 NCAAs and 5-3 at OSU this season) … Parker beat Bednarski at the ’01 NCAAs (4-5) and at OSU (3-5) … Fabricant has split two recent 5-4 bouts vs. Parker, losing at Duke in ’01 and winning at OSU this season.
* Jared Rodgers, Ohio State – One of the world’s top-ranked junior-level fencers, Rogers swept through the Irish lineup at the OSU Duals (5-1 vs. Crompton, 5-2 vs. Bednarski, 5-0 vs. Fabricant).
* Kate Rudkin, Northwestern – The 4th-place finisher at the 2001 NCAAs, Rudkin has become a rival of the ND fencers … Rudkin is 4-2 vs. ND’s Anna Carnick the past two season, with Carnick winning at the 2000 NCAAs (3-2, Rudkin won 3-5 at the ’01 NCAAs) and the 2002 OSU Duals (5-3) … ND’s Meagan Call owns one win in six bouts vs. Rudkin (5-4 at the 2001 ND Invitational), with 5-4, 5-4 losses at the last two NCAAs … ND freshman Kerry Walton split a pair of 5-4 vs. Rudkin this season (winning at OSU).
* Alexandra Shklar, Ohio State – The 6th-place finisher at the 2001 NCAAs, Shklar has dropped a pair of 5-1 bouts to Carnick (at the ’01 Duke Invite and NCAAs) before beating Carnick this season at the OSU Duals (2-5) … Call lost to Shklar at the’01 NCAAs (3-5) and OSU this season (4-5) but beat her at Duke in ’01 (5-3) while Walton beat Shklar earlier this season (5-2).
* Jen Greenebaum, Northwestern – A 2001 NCAA competitor, Greenebaum owns a 2-4 record the past two seasons vs.Carnick (who posted 5-1, 5-2 NCAA wins) and has split six bouts vs. Call (who won their 2000 NCAA matchup, 5-0 but lost to Greenebaum in the ’01 NCAAs, 4-5) … Walton posted 5-3, 5-2 win over Greenebaum earlier this season.
* Inga Wallrabenstein, Wayne State – The 5th-place NCAA finisher in 2001, Wallrabenstein has won three previous bouts vs. ND’s Liza Boutsikaris but dropped 5-4 bouts to ND’s freshman tandem of Andrea Ament and Alicja Kryczalo at the OSU Duals.
* Kristen Dorf, Northwestern – A 2000 and 2001 NCAA qualifier, Dorf has split six previous bouts vs. Boutsikaris (who posted 5-1, 5-3 wins vs. Dorf in ’01 and a 5-3 win this season at OSU) while Kryczalo dominated Dorf this season (5-0, 5-0) and Ament beat her 5-1 aty OSU.
* Julia Foldi, Northwestern – The Wildcats freshman beat Boutsikaris twice this season (1-5, 0-5) but lost twice to Kryczalo (5-1, 5-2) and dropped a 5-2 bout to Ament at OSU.
* Louise Bond-Williams, Ohio State – Dropped all three of her bouts vs. ND this season, losing 5-3 to fifth-year Carianne McCullough before losing to sophomores Destanie Milo (5-1) and Maggie Jordan (5-2).
* Leah Tracy, Ohio State – Beat McCullough each of the past two seasons (2-5, 3-5) while splitting with Milo (3-5, 5-2 Milo win) and dropping a 5-4 bout to Jordan this season.
* William Jones, Ohio State – Brother of OSU’s former NCAA competitor Alan Jones, Willy Jones has lost to Viviani (5-2) and Casas (5-4) last season before beating them at the 2002 OSU Duals (4-5, 2-5).