NOTRE DAME, Ind. — For the fifth straight year, the University of Notre Dame fencing program will send the maximum allotted 12 fencers to the NCAA Championships, one of just four programs that will compete with 12 participants March 21-24 at Cleveland State University.
The No. 1 Irish will send a balanced roster of youth and experience as the women qualified senior Sabrina Massialas and freshman Amita Berthier in foil, senior Amanda Sirico and freshman Miriam Grady in epee and senior Tara Hassett and freshman Kara Linder in sabre. The men’s squad will contribute reigning foil champion Nick Itkin and senior foilist Axel Kiefer, senior Ariel Simmons and sophomore Stephen Ewart in epee and junior Arsenii Panteleev and freshman Alessandro Contreras in sabre.
☑️ 5 NCAA Midwest Regional Champs
☑️ 12 #NCAAFencing Qualifiers
⬜️ 1 Goal ?
— Notre Dame Fencing (@NDFencing) March 12, 2019
The two-time reigning national champion, Notre Dame will join Columbia/Barnard, Harvard and Penn State as the only programs to reach the maximum allotment for NCAA qualification. Duke, Ohio State, St. John’s and Yale each qualified 10 fencers.
The Irish return six 2018 All-Americans to the competition this season, including first-teamers Itkin, Kiefer, Simmons, Massialas and Sirico. Itkin won the program’s first men’s foil crown since 2014, while Massialas claimed silver and Kiefer, Simmons and Sirico each placed third. Kiefer and Massialas are three-time All-Americans, while Simmons and Sirico are two-time honorees. In addition to the freshmen making their first appearances, Ewart and Panteleev are also making their NCAA debut.
The Irish newcomers have certainly already made a mark for the Irish in 2019, as Berthier, Grady and Linder captured Atlantic Coast Conference titles in their respective weapons, while Contreras placed third at the conference meet.
The National Collegiate Men’s and Women’s Fencing Championships include individual events in each of the six weapons, and fencers will compete in a round-robin format of five-touch bouts. After the round-robin, the top-four finishers in each weapon will fence in semifinal 15-touch bouts, with the winners fencing to determine first and second places, and the non-advancing fencers being awarded a tie for third place.
Place finish in the championships will be based on points earned by each individual. A team will be awarded one point for each victory by its student-athletes for the duration of the championships.
A live feed of the semifinal and final bouts will be available on ESPN3 or the WatchESPN app. For more information about the championships, log onto NCAA.com.