March 22, 2000
Irish Head To NCAA Championships: The Notre Dame men’s and women’s fencing teams travel to Stanford this week for the NCAA combined men’s and women’s fencing championship March 23-26 at Maples Pavilion. The Irish join Penn State, Princeton and Stanford as the only schools to send the maximum of 12 fencers to the championships. St. John’s has qualified 11 fencers. Seven of the 12 Notre Dame are freshman, while nine of the 12 are freshmen or sophomores. The 2000 event will mark the debut of women sabre at the NCAA championships, five years after the introduction of women’s epee in 1995.
NCAA Championships History: In the 10 championships that have been held since the NCAA combined the men’s and women’s championships in 1990, Notre Dame has never finished lower than sixth and has placed in the top four nine times, the top three eight times and the top two five times. The Irish have finished second in each of the last four years and are the last team to win the NCAA team title other Penn State, when they won their only combined NCAA championship in 1994. Notre Dame won NCAA men’s championships in 1977, ’78 and ’86 and claimed the NCAA women’s championship in ’87.
Epee Preview: Freshman Jan Viviani and sophomore All-American Brian Casas will represent Notre Dame in men’s epee. Viviani finished the regular season with the best Irish men’s epee record at 32-7 (.821), while Casas compiled the most wins at 35-11 (.761). Viviani finished with a 9-2 record to place second at the Midwest Regional Championship and was a semifinalist in the Midwest Fencing Conference Championships. Casas — a third-place finisher at the Midwest Regional Championship — will be making his second appearance in the NCAA championships after placing eighth in 1999.
A pair of Irish freshmen have qualified for the NCAA women’s epee field. Midwest Fencing Conference champion Anna Carnick compiled a 37-10 record during her first season and placed fifth at the Midwest Regional Championship with a 7-4 record. Meagan Call led the epee squad in wins with a 41-10 record and placed fourth at the Midwest Regional Championship.
Foil Preview: Midwest Fencing Conference Championship finalists Ozren Debic and Forest Walton both have earned berths in the NCAA men’s foil competition as freshmen. Debic posted a 42-3 during the regular season and an 11-0 mark to win the Midwest Regional Championship. Walton lost 15-11 to Debic in the final of the Midwest Fencing Conference Championship and went 34-7 during the season before finishing third at the Midwest Regional Championship.
Senior All-American Magda Krol will be making her fourth appearance in the NCAA championships but first in foil after three top-10 finishes in epee, including an NCAA title in 1997 as a freshman. Krol won the Midwest Regional Championship with an 11-0 record and had a 33-7 mark during the season. Freshman Liza Boutsikaris — a semifinalist with Krol at the Midwest Fencing Conference Championship — finished second at the Midwest Regional Championship with a 10-1 record, her only loss a 5-3 defeat to Krol. Boutsikaris compiled a 36-8 record during the regular season.
Sabre Preview: Two Irish All-Americans will participate in the NCAA men’s sabre competition in sophomore Gabor Szelle and junior Andrzej Bednarski. Szelle will be looking for his first NCAA title after finishing second at the 1999 NCAA championships. In addition to his 41-3 record this season, Szelle went 10-1 to place second at the Midwest Regional Championship and was a semifinalist at the Midwest Fencing Conference Championships. Bednarski placed 11th at the 1998 NCAA championships as a freshman before not fencing during the 1999 season. He compiled a 40-7 record this year and placed third at the Midwest Regional Championship.
Freshman Natalia Mazur and junior Carianne McCullough will compete in the inaugural NCAA women’s sabre competition for the Irish. Mazur and McCullough both finished with 7-4 records at the Midwest Regional Championship, with McCullough placing third on indicators and Mazur fourth. Mazur had a 49-4 record this season, while McCullough was 41-12.
Head Coach Yves Auriol: Yves Auriol is in his sixth season as head coach of both the men’s and women’s team after coaching the women’s team from 1986-95. This season he has guided the men’s and women’s teams to identical 18-2 records. Auriol has a career record of 441-27 (.942) during his 15 season at Notre Dame and has coached the Irish to an NCAA women’s title in 1987 and an NCAA combined crown in 1994. His fencers have earned 42 All-America accolades during his career with the Irish.