Feb. 19, 2004
Notre Dame freshman sabres Patrick Ghattas and Valerie Providenza – both natives of Beaverton, Ore. – have returned to campus after impressive showings in Cleveland at the 2004 Junior Olympics. The Oregon Fencing Alliance products won their respective competitions while fellow Irish freshman Amy Orlando (Brookline, Mass.) clinched a spot on the 2004 U.S. Junior National women’s epee team with her third-place finish at the Junior Olympics.
Ghattas entered the competition 7th in the U.S. Fencing Association rankings for junior-level fencers (under-20) and quickly will jump back into high-level competition at this weekend’s World Cup event in Dordan, France (the sabre bouts will be held on Sunday). Another top finish could bolster Ghattas’ hopes for earning one of the three men’ sabres spots on the 2004 U.S. Junior National Team.
Valerie Providenza turned in an impressive first-place showing in the Junior Olympics women’s sabre competition.
Providenza entered the Junior Olympics as the #9-ranked fencer in the USFA junior women’s sabre ratings (she also is 9th in the overall/senior-level ratings).
Orlando entered the J.O.’s with a No. 3 national junior ranking and has been named to the three-fencer U.S. women’s epee squad that will compete in the 2004 World Junior Championships, April 1-8 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Olympic hopeful Kamara James (who fenced for Princeton as a freshman in ’02-’03) and Kelly Hurley (a Texas high school-aged prodigy) are slated to join Orlando on the Junior National squad.
Six other Notre Dame freshmen – plus sophomore sabre Nicholas Diacou (New York, N.Y.) – competed in the 2004 Junior Olympics, with Matthew Stearns (Minnetrista, Minn.) dropping a 15-9 bout to his Irish teammate in the quarterfinals (Stearns finished 8th). Patrick Gettings (Lake Forest, Ill.) added a 15th-place finish while fellow Notre Dame epeeist Aaron Adjemian (El Paso, Texas) placed 18th. Angela Vincent (Lake Oswego, Ore.) finished 23rd in the sabre competition, with foilist Frank Bontempo (Pittsburgh) reaching the round of 64 while Jesse Laeuchli (Dulles, Va.) competed in the men’s epee bouts.
Ghattas followed his win over Stearns by beating young upstart Max Williams in the semifinals (15-11) and Columbia University’s Alex Krul in the final (15-12). Ghattas did not compete in the 2002 or ’03 Junior Olympics, after winning the under-17 title at the 2002 Junior Olympics.
Providenza was seeded first after the poll competition and worked her way through the direct-elimination stage, culminating with a quarterfinal win over Sarah Parker (15-8), a tight semifinal vs. her longtime friend Amelia Gaillard that saw Providenza win the final two points (15-14), and a 15-9 title bout vs. Eileen Grench. The field included Columbia All-American Emma Barrada.
The flow of the women’s epee bouts produced a semifinal matchup that featured the competition’s top fencers, with Orlando losing a 15-14 bout to her Northwest Fencing Center teammate Keri Byerts (14-15). Orlando – who was an alternate for the 2003 Junior National Team – earlier had defeated Kristin Hughes in the quarterfinals, 15-8.
Amy Orlando clinched a spot on the Junior National Team with her third-place finish at the Junior Olympics.
Orlando’s selection to the 2004 U.S. Junior National Team comes on the strength of several impressive showings at international events. She placed sixth at a Junior World Cup event in Bratislava, Slovakia (Oct. ’03), followed the next month by an eighth-place finish at a similar event in Palermo, Italy. Most recently, Orlando place 10th at a Junior World Cup event in Budapest, Hungary (Jan. ’04).
Stearns – who entered last weekend with a USFA national junior ranking of 21st – reached the quarterfinals with a 15-11 victory over Andrew McGee in the round of 16.
Several other current and former Notre Dame fencers were included in the latest USFA rankings for junior and senior-level fencers (as of Feb. 11, prior to the Junior Olympics.
Adjemian (8th) and Gettings (21st) both were listed in the junior men’s epee rankings while former ND four-year All-American Jan Viviani was 5th in the U.S. overall men’s epee rankings – behind former college rivals Seth Kelsey and Soren Thompson, plus Eric Hansen and Cody Mattern.
Orlando (11th) and senior Kerry Walton (8th) both were listed among the top fencers in the USFA senior-level women’s epee rankings, confirming their status as one of the top women’s epee tandems in collegiate fencing this season.
Junior Andrea Ament (Gates Mill, Ohio) remains among near the top of the senior-level women’s foil rankings, checking in at 4th last week behind Stanford’s Iris Zimmerman, Erinn Smart and Emily Cross. Her classmate Derek Snyder was 18th in the men’s foil rankings, with Bontempo 47th in the junior-level foil rankings.
Vincent checked in at 26th in the junior-level women’s sabre rankings and 41st in overall/senior-level rankings (former Irish fencer Nicole Mustilli is 15th).