Jan. 19, 2002

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Two Notre Dame fencers added to their impressive freshman seasons Saturday with high finishes in second-day action of the South Bend North American Cup, an elite United States Fencing Association event being held at the downtown Century Center.

Alicja Kryczalo nearly won the senior women’s foil competition, losing 15-14 in the title bout versus the top-ranked U.S. foilist Erinn Smart. Michal Sobieraj joined fellow Poland native Kryczalo with his own top-four finish by placing third in the senior men’s epee, including a quarterfinal win over Air Force All-American Seth Kelsey (who placed sixth at the 2001 NCAAs).

Two local products advanced to Sunday’s round of 32 in their respective events, as Irish junior captain Anna Carnick (Mishawaka) moved on in senior women’s epee while fifth-year Andrzej Bednarski advanced in senior men’s sabre.

Notre Dame junior captain Jan Viviani (sixth in senior men’s epee) and freshman Andrea Ament (fifth in senior women’s foil) also posted top-eight finishes while freshman Derek Snyder placed seventh in the junior men’s foil competition (he will be one of five Irish fencers competing in Sunday’s senior men’s foil bouts).

Viviani was eliminated by one of his collegiate rivals Adam Wiercioch of Penn State, a member of Poland’s national team program who went on to win Saturday’s title (he was the 2001 NCAA runner-up) while Ament lost in the round of eight to Jujie Luan (a former Olympic champion from China who now competes with Canada).

Chris O’Loughlin (No. 5 in U.S. rankings) finished second in the men’s epee competion, followed by Sobieraj and Michael Felschuh (No. 9 in U.S.) and Israel native Doron Levit (Viviani is 10th in the U.S. rankings).

Luan and Hannah Thompspn (No. 5 in U.S. rankings) tied for third in women’s foil, followed by Ament (4th in U.S. rankings).

Sophomore Jessie Filkins failed to advance to the field of 32 in the women’s junior sabre competition while junior Matt Fabricant likewise did not advance in senior’s men’s sabre.

Sunday’s action includes competition in six weapons, beginning with senior men’s foil at 8:00 a.m. (featuring Snyder and Irish junior captain Ozren Debic), followed by junior men’s epee (9:00) and senior men’s epee (featuring Bednarski and Irish senior captain Andre Crompton, the No. 10 seed).

The women’s epee resumes on Sunday at noon (featuring Carnick and Irish sophomore Kerry Walton, the No. 8 seed) while the 2:00 p.m. events will include Ament competing in junior women’s foil and four Irish fencers in senior women’s sabre, led by fifth-year captain Carianne McCullough and the sophomore trio of Destanie Milo (Knox, Ind.), Maggie Jordan and Filkins.

The tournament concludes on Monday morning (8:00 a.m.) with the final men’s foil bouts.