Greg Schoolcraft

Gerek Meinhardt Wins Foil Gold At Men's NCAA Midwest Regional

March 14, 2010

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EVANSTON, Ill. – Sophomore fencer Gerek Meinhardt (San Fransisco, Calif.) beat fellow Irish teammate Enzo Castellani (Keller, Texas) to win the men’s foil gold medal at the NCAA Midwest Regional on Sunday afternoon inside the Sports and Aquatic Center on the campus of Northwestern University. With the gold, Meinhardt earns automatic qualification into the 2010 NCAA Championship field, which will be hosted by Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. on March 25-28.

Joining Castellani as silver medalists at the event were epeeist Greg Schoolcraft and Avery Zuck in sabre, giving the Irish four of the nine medalist finishes of the afternoon. The Irish also saw freshman epeeist James Kaull (Washinton, D.C.) finish seventh, while sophomore Keith Feldman (Stony Brook, N.Y.) and junior Barron Nydam (Rancho Sante Fe, Calif.) finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in sabre. Looking to claim the maximum six men’s bids to the upcoming NCAA Championship, the Irish will officially find out on Tuesday, March 16 who will be representing them at Harvard.

Meinhardt was seeded second once the final table of eight was set and he and promptly downed Michael Purdy-Sachs of Detroit, 15-0, to advance to the semifinals. In the semis, Meinhardt dropped third-seeded Colin Sutter of Ohio State, 15-7, for a place in the championship. In the finals, he downed Castellani, 15-10. Castellani had entered the final eight as the fourth seed. In the semifinals, he downed Irish teammate Zach Schirtz (Rochester, N.Y.) 15-7. Then in the semifinals, Castellani defeated top-seeded Ben Parkins of Ohio State, 15-12. With his second place showing, Castellani added a silver medal to the NCAA Regional bronze he won last season.

In epee, Schoolcraft was the seventh seed in the final table of eighth. He upset second seeded Ognjen Vesic of OSU, 15-11, to advance to a semifinal showdown with three-time NCAA Champion Slava Zingermann of Wayne State. Schoolcraft proved victorious, 15-10, in that matchup but then fell to top-seeded Igor Tolkachev of Ohio State in the championship bout, 15-11. With his run to the finals, Schoolcraft made a strong case to earn an at large bid to the NCAA Championship for the second consecutive season.

Kaull entered the final eight as the fifth seed, but lost successive bouts to land in the seventh place bout, where he beat teammate Jacob Osborne (Colleyville, Texas), 15-8.

In Sabre, Zuck earned his second consecutive NCAA Midwest Regional silver medal. He was the sixth seed in the final table of eight and had to face third-seeded Irish teammate Barron Nydam (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.) in the quarterfinals. Zuck earned a 15-13 win in that all-Irish matchup and then downed Feldman for his second consecutive win over a teammate. In the finals, Zuck fell to OSU’s Bryan Cheney by the score of 15-8.

In men’s foil, Schirtz ended up fifth and Steve Kubik (San Antonio, Texas) came in ninth. Osborne finished eighth and Andrew Seroff (Boulder, Colo.) ninth in epee. Rounding out the Irish contingent, Jason Choy (Basking Ridge, N.J.) finished sixth in sabre.

NCAA Championship Selection Notes Each team can qualify up to two men and two women per weapon for the NCAA Championship. The winner of each event at the Midwest Regional will receive and automatic bid to the NCAA Championships and the Midwest region has five bids allocated to it for the NCAA Championships in each of the six events. Fencers are nominated by the NCAA Midwest Committee, and confirmed by the NCAA National Men’s and Women’s Fencing Committee on Tuesday, March 16. Nominations are based on the pre-regional “Fencer Strength Factor” (40 percent) and Regional Placement (60 percent). Each region also nominates two fencers in each event as at-large candidates; the at-large bids go to the two fencers with the highest Fencer Strength Factor.

Men's Epee Top-81   Tolkachev, Igor     OHIO STATE2   Schoolcraft, Greg    NOTRE DAME3   Canevari, Marco     OHIO STATE4   Zingerman, Slava    WAYNE STATE5   Vesic, Ognjen       OHIO STATE6   Tafoya, Daniel      OHIO STATE7   Kaull, James      NOTRE DAME8   Osborne, Jacob      NOTRE DAME
Men's Foil Top-81 Meinhardt, Gerek NOTRE DAME2 Castellani, Enzo NOTRE DAME3 Parkins, Ben OHIO STATE4 Sutter, Colin OHIO STATE5 Schirtz, Zach NOTRE DAME6 Gross, Liran CLEVELAND STATE7 Doherty, Joe OHIO STATE8 Purdy-Sachs, Michael DETROIT
Men's Sabre Top-81 Cheney, Bryan OHIO STATE2 Zuck, Avery NOTRE DAME3 Stearns, Max OHIO STATE4 Feldman, Keith NOTRE DAME5 Nydam, Barron NOTRE DAME6 Choy, Jason NOTRE DAME7 Gibczynski, Jakub WAYNE STATE8 Wilde, Dexter OHIO STATE