Fist Bump

Keys to the Meet: 2019 NCAA Championships

CLEVELAND — The two-time reigning national champion University of Notre Dame fencing program will seek its 11th national title beginning Thursday as the 2019 National Collegiate Men’s and Women’s Fencing Championships commence at Cleveland State University.
The Irish, ranked No. 1 in both men’s and women’s NCAA/CollegeFencing360 coaches polls, were one of four teams to qualify the maximum 12 fencers (two per weapon, per gender), joining Harvard, Columbia and Penn State in that number. Notre Dame will look to defend its national titles from 2017 and 2018 and become the first program in Notre Dame history to win three straight national championships.
WHAT: 2019 National Collegiate Men’s and Women’s Fencing Championships
WHERE: Wolstein Center | Cleveland, Ohio
WHEN: March 21-24, 2019
WATCH: ESPN3 | Men’s Semifinals & Finals, 1 p.m. ET Friday; Women’s Semifinals & Finals, 1 p.m. ET Sunday
RESULTS: Live Scores
MORE: Tickets

NCAA Championships Overview

The Irish fencing program has qualified the maximum of 12 fencers (two per weapon, per gender) to this year’s NCAA Championships, hosted by Cleveland State University and the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission. The Championships will be played in a five-round round robin format — with each fencer accumulating points with wins during the round robin — followed by the individual semifinal and championship bouts. Round robin bouts will be played to five touches, while the semifinals and finals will be 15-touch bouts. Each point earned contributes to a team score to determine the combined men’s and women’s team championship. The men will fence on Thursday and Friday, followed by the women on Saturday and Sunday.

Schedule of Events

(All Time Eastern)
9 a.m. – Men’s Epee Rounds 1-3
11 a.m. – Men’s Foil Rounds 1-3
1:30 p.m. – Men’s Sabre Rounds 1-3
9 a.m. – Men’s Foil, Epee and Sabre Rounds 4-5
1:30 p.m. – Men’s Semifinal and Championship bouts in order of epee, foil, sabre
9 a.m. – Women’s Epee Rounds 1-3
11 a.m. – Women’s Foil Rounds 1-3
1:30 p.m. – Women’s Sabre Rounds 1-3
9 a.m. – Women’s Foil, Epee and Sabre Rounds 4-5
1:30 p.m. – Womn’s Semifinal and Championship bouts in order of epee, foil, sabre

Irish Qualifiers

Men’s Epee
Stephen Ewart
Ariel Simmons
Men’s Foil
Nick Itkin
Axel Kiefer
Men’s Sabre
Alessandro Contreras
Arsenii Panteleev
Women’s Epee

Miriam Grady
Amanda Sirico
Women’s Foil
Amita Berthier
Sabrina Massialas
Women’s Sabre
Tara Hassett*
Kara Linder
Of Notre Dame’s 12 NCAA participants for 2019, six boast previous national championship experience and All-American credentials. Sophomore men’s foilist Nick Itkin is the reigning national title holder in his specialty, having turned in a dominant performance in 2018 with 18 round-robin wins and semifinal and final victories by an average of nine touches. Seniors Sabrina Massialas (women’s foil) and Axel Kiefer (men’s foil) are each three-time All-Americans, while seniors Amanda Sirico (women’s epee) and Tara Hassett (women’s sabre) and junior Ariel Simmons (men’s epee) are two-time All-America honorees.

On The Air

A live feed of the semifinal and final bouts will be available on ESPN3 or the WatchESPN App beginning at 1 p.m. ET on both Friday and Sunday. The semifinals and finals, along with other championships highlights, will air on ESPNU at 1 p.m. ET on April 3. For more information about the championships, log onto

Irish in the 2019 Postseason

For the first time in program history, Notre Dame swept all six individual Atlantic Coast Conference championships, while winning both men’s and women’s team titles last month at Boston College. Of those six Irish individuals, four were freshman — Amita Berthier (women’s foil), Miriam Grady (women’s epee), Kara Linder (women’s sabre) and Malcolm Fields (men’s sabre) — while sophomore and defending national champion Nick Itkin earned his second straight conference title in men’s foil and senior Dylan French also won his second ACC title in men’s epee after also winning as a freshman in 2016. Following the championships, Linder and Itkin were named the tournament’s most valuable fencers.
Notre Dame served as the host for the 2019 NCAA Midwest Regional Championships, with the home floor proving advantageous as a record five Irish fencers earned gold and another four finished in the top three. For the women, senior Sabrina Massialas captured her third regional crown in foil, classmate Amanda Sirico claimed her second title in epee and Linder earned her first in sabre. Foilist Itkin and junior sabreur Arsenii Panteleev also claimed their first career regional championships and automatic NCAA qualification. Tara Hassett (women’s sabre), Grady (women’s epee) and Axel Kiefer (men’s foil) each took second place in their respective disciplines, while Berthier placed third in women’s foil.

Rankings Rundown

CollegeFencing360 released the second coaches poll of the season on March 3, with the Irish men and women holding on to the No. 1 spot, having not slipped below that ranking all season.
Men’s Rankings
1. Notre Dame
2. Columbia
3. Harvard
4. Penn State
5. Princeton
6. Duke
7. Stanford
8. Yale
9. Ohio State
10. Penn
Women’s Rankings
1. Notre Dame
2. Columbia
3. Penn State
4. Northwestern
5. Harvard
6. Duke
7. Temple
8. Ohio State
9. St. John’s
10. Princeton