Ariel Simmons

Keys to the Meet: 2019 ACC Championships

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The top-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s and women’s fencing programs will each seek their fourth Atlantic Coast Conference championships in the last five seasons this weekend when they travel to compete against a strong field this week at Boston College.
WHAT: ACC Championships
WHERE: Conte Forum | Chestnut Hill, Mass.
WHEN: Feb. 23-24, 2019
WHO: Notre Dame, Boston College, Duke, North Carolina
WATCH: ACC Network Extra – Saturday | Sunday
LINKS: @NDFencing | Live Results (Individual) | Live Results (Team)

ACC Championship Overview

The 2019 ACC Men’s and Women’s Fencing Championships will be contested as a two-day event with individual and team championships taking place on opposite days. The women’s individual competition will kickstart the event at 8 a.m. ET Saturday, followed by the men’s team competition at 1:30 p.m. On Sunday, the men’s individual tournament will start at 7 a.m., with the women’s team competition starting at 12:30 p.m. The individual competition will feature pool play to determine seeding for two direct elimination rounds. The team competition will be held in a round robin dual format, with total record determining the champion.
The ACC once held a men’s fencing championship from 1971 to 1980, but fencing did not return as an ACC-sponsored sport until 2015.
ACC Championship Schedule
Saturday, Feb. 24
8 a.m. – Women’s Individual Tournament Begins
Noon – Women’s Individual Semifinal Bouts
12:30 p.m. – Women’s Championship Bouts (in order of sabre, epee and foil)
1:30 p.m. – No. 4 Boston College vs. No. 1 Notre Dame
2:30 p.m. – No. 3 North Carolina vs. No. 1 Notre Dame
3:30 p.m. – No. 2 Duke vs. No. 1 Notre Dame
4:30 p.m. – Awards Presentation
Sunday, Feb. 25
7 a.m. – Men’s Individual Tournament Begins
11 a.m. – Men’s Individual Semifinal Bouts
11:30 a.m. – Men’s Championship Bouts (in order of sabre, epee and foil)
12:30 p.m. – No. 4 Boston College vs. No. 1 Notre Dame
1:30 p.m. – No. 3 North Carolina vs. No. 1 Notre Dame
2:30 p.m. – No. 2 Duke vs. No. 1 Notre Dame
3:30 p.m. – Awards Presentation

Irish at the ACC Championships

Last season, both Irish teams placed second at the ACC Championships, with the men taking runner-up to Duke and the women placing behind North Carolina. In their first three seasons in the conference, both Irish teams claimed the team crowns in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
In each of the last four seasons, the Irish have boasted five individual champions out of a possible six, including 2018 winners Nick Itkin (men’s foil), Jonah Shainberg (men’s sabre), Elyssa Kleiner (women’s foil), Francesca Russo (women’s sabre) and Amanda Sirico (women’s epee). Itkin, Kleiner and Sirico all return for this season’s championships.
In addition, the Irish also will bring 2018 All-ACC honorees Ariel Simmons (men’s epee), Tara Hassett (women’s sabre) and Stefani Deschner (women’s foil); 2017 ACC Championship MVP Sabrina Massialas (women’s foil) and 2016 ACC champions Axel Kiefer (men’s foil) and Dylan French (men’s epee).
Irish ACC Roster

Men’s Epee: Stephen Ewart, Dylan French, Ariel Simmons, Darius Zacharakis
Women’s Epee: Julia Barry, Miriam Grady, Molly Hudson, Amanda Sirico, Dasha Yefremenko
Men’s Foil: Nick Itkin, Axel Kiefer, Andrew Machovec, Joseph Marino
Women’s Foil: Amita Berthier, Stefani Deschner, Elyssa Kleiner, Sabrina Massialas, Morgan Partridge
Men’s Sabre: Alessandro Contreras, Malcolm Fields, Arsenii Panteleev, Jared Smith
Women’s Sabre: Natalie Disher, Tara Hassett, Kara Linder, Regina O’Brien, Reghan Ward

Rankings Rundown

CollegeFencing360 released the second coaches poll of the season on Feb. 8, with both Irish teams retaining the top spots in the polls.
Men’s Rankings
1. Notre Dame
2. Columbia
2. Harvard
4. Penn State
5. Princeton
6. Duke
7. Stanford
8. Yale
9. Ohio State
10. Penn
Women’s Rankings
1. Notre Dame
2. Northwestern
3. Columbia
4. Penn State
5. Harvard
6. Duke
7. Temple
8. Ohio State
9. Penn
10. Princeton

Back-2-Back Champions

The Irish captured their second straight national title in 2018 — and 10th overall — competing in University Park, Pennsylvania, at the 2018 National Collegiate Fencing Championships, held at Penn State’s Multi-Sport Facility. The Irish were dominant during the four-day stretch, leading at the end of each day and amassing 185 points. Ten of Notre Dame’s 12 participants earned All-America Honors, eight of which were of the first-team variety. Seniors Francesca Russo (third, women’s sabre), Nicholas Hanahan (fifth, men’s epee) and Jonah Shainberg (fifth, men’s sabre) ended their careers on a high note, while the 2018-19 roster welcomes back seven incumbent All-Americans: men’s foil national champion and sophomore Nick Itkin, senior Axel Kiefer (third, men’s foil), junior Ariel Simmons (third, men’s epee) and seniors Sabrina Massialas (second, women’s foil), Elyssa Kleiner (third, women’s foil), Amanda Sirico (third, women’s epee) and Tara Hassett (seventh, women’s sabre).