NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame fencing program is showing no signs of slowing down after sweeping the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships last month. Instead, the top-ranked Irish men and women captured five NCAA Midwest Regional titles Saturday at the Castellan Family Fencing Center and positioned themselves to qualify the maximum 12 fencers for the 2019 National Collegiate Fencing Championships.
The five regional championships — won by Kara Linder (women’s sabre), Sabrina Massialas (women’s foil), Amanda Sirico (women’s epee), Arsenii Panteleev (men’s sabre) and Nick Itkin (men’s foil) — are believed to be the most in program history and are the most for the Irish since winning three in 2016.
How It Happened
The Irish women topped the podium in all three weapons, led by ACC women’s sabre champion Linder, three-time All-American Massialas and two-time NCAA bronze medalist Sirico. Linder went 12-1 with a +45 indicator, while Massialas captured her third regional title with a 15-0 record (+56) and Sirico earned her second regional crown by going 12-0 (+30).
Senior Tara Hassett (11-2) claimed silver in sabre, securing a qualification to her fourth national championships, while freshman Miriam Grady (10-2) also finished second in epee to ensure her first such qualifier. Freshman Amita Berthier (12-3) captured third place in foil; sophomore Dasha Yefremenko (8-4) placed fourth in epee; and sophomore Reghan Ward (8-5) finished sixth in sabre.
The men’s competition picked up after lunch, and Panteleev made it four regional championships for the Irish on the day with his win in men’s sabre, going 8-2 with a +26 indicator. Reigning NCAA champion Itkin rounded out the day with his first regional title, posting an unblemished 14-0 record, and senior Axel Kiefer followed closely behind with a 13-1 record in a second-place finish.
Freshmen Alessandro Contreras and Malcolm Fields came in fourth and sixth, respectively, in sabre. Sophomore Stephen Ewart placed fourth in men’s epee, while junior Ariel Simmons finished in fifth.
Midwest region fencers can qualify up to five competitors in women’s foil, women’s epee and men’s sabre and four in women’s sabre, men’s epee and men’s foil. Those finishing outside those parameters may be considered for the national championship event on an at-large basis.
The Irish will learn their NCAA fate on Tuesday, March 12, when the final selections for the NCAA Championships are announced. This year’s championship will take place March 21-24 at Cleveland State University.
NCAA Midwest Regional Championship
March 9, 2017
Castellan Family Fencing Center
Notre Dame, Ind.
1. Kara Linder (12-1, +45)
2. Tara Hassett (11-2, +34)
6. Reghan Ward (8-5, +15)
1. Sabrina Massialas (15-0, +56)
3. Amita Berthier (12-3, +30)
1. Amanda Sirico (12-0, +30)
2. Miriam Grady (10-2, +23)
4. Dasha Yefremenko (8-4, +10)
1. Arsenii Panteleev (8-2, +26)
4. Alessandro Contreras (7-3, +15)
6. Malcolm Fields (6-4, +17)
1. Nick Itkin (14-0, +54)
2. Axel Kiefer (13-1, +48)
4. Stephen Ewart (7-3, +17)
5. Ariel Simmons (7-3, +10)