Freshman Darius Zacharakis became the first Irish epee fencer to take the podium at a North American Cup epee event in over 10 years with his third-place finish over the weekend.

Freshman Duo Seize Bronze At North American Cup

Dec. 8, 2015

By Joanne Norell

BALTIMORE, Md. – A pair of University of Notre Dame freshman fencers posted impressive finishes at the final USA Fencing North American Cup event of the year, with Axel Kiefer (foil) and Darius Zacharakis (epee) each collecting bronze medals at the Division I level at the Baltimore Convention Center.

Kiefer, brother to three-time women’s foil NCAA Champion Lee Kiefer, upended U.S. National Team member and 2013 Individual Foil World Champion Miles Chamley-Watson en route to the podium. Kiefer placed sixth at last month’s junior NAC event in Kansas City, Missouri, and posted a 10-2 record in five meets at the Penn Elite Invitational to kick off the NCAA season November 21.

Zacharakis, too, notched an impressive performance in men’s epee, becoming the first Irish epee fencer to place in the top three of a NAC Division I epee event in over 10 years. Zacharakis had previously placed 20th at November’s junior NAC event, and 69th in the Division I competition in October in Richmond, Virginia.

Additionally, a pair of recent Irish graduates turned in high finishes, as 2015 graduates Madison Zeiss (foil) and Ashley Severson (epee) claimed sixth in their respective events. Sophomore and defending NCAA women’s sabre champion Francesca Russo claimed eighth in Division I women’s sabre, and sophomore Jonah Shainberg took ninth place in Division I men’s sabre.

The next event for the Irish will be the January Division I/Junior NAC in St. Louis, Missouri, held January 8-11, 2016. The Irish will resume NCAA competition January 16-17 when they host the DeCicco Duals at the Castellan Family Fencing Center.

December 4-7, 2015
Baltimore Convention Center
Baltimore, Maryland
Men’s Results
Division I Foil
3. Axel Kiefer
22. Michael Antipas
Division I Epee
3. Darius Zacharakis
105. Nick Hanahan
Division I Sabre
9. Jonah Shainberg
41. Jonathan Fitzgerald
Women’s Results
Division I Foil
6. Madison Zeiss (2015 graduate)
30. Erin Dietsche
34. Elyssa Kleiner
36. Nicole McKee
Division II Foil
17. Reagan Fitzgerald
Division I Epee
6. Ashley Severson (2015 graduate)
13. Madeline Antekeier
47. Catherine Lee
Division I Sabre
8. Francesca Russo
17. Claudia Kulmacz
61. Jamie Norville

To keep up with Irish fencing, visit, follow @NDFencing on Twitter and likeNotre Dame Fencing on Facebook.


Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2014 and coordinates communications efforts for the Notre Dame women’s soccer, men’s tennis, women’s tennis and fencing programs. Norell is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University and earned her master’s degree from Georgetown University in 2013.