June 10, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame’s fencing head coach Janusz Bednarski has announced the signings of student-athletes Lian Osier (Battle Ground, Wash.) and James Kaull (Washington, D.C.). The highly touted fencers will join the program in the fall of 2009. Osier and Kaull joined six other Irish fencers at the recently completed Junior World Championships in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Osier is a promising women’s sabreist who has been training at the Oregon Fencing Alliance in Portland, Ore. At the Junior World Championships, she was a member of the United States sabre team that finished eighth out of 17 countries at the event. The U.S. defeated Korea, 45-38, at the event but then came up against top-seeded (and eventual champion) Ukraine, who knocked-off the U.S. by a score of 45-37.
“Lian is a great fighter with soft moves and super quick endings of actions,” said Bednarski. “She is an extremely talented athlete who “kills” opponents softly on the fencing strip. She is a great addition to Notre Dame, joining her club teammates Sarah Borrmann and Eileen Hassett.”
Osier has recorded several impressive results on the Junior World Cup circuit as well. Most recently, on December 6, 2008, she placed 13th at the JWC event in Ligano, Italy. She turned in an eighth-place finish at the JWC event in Montreal, Canada in October of 2008. Sandwiched between those top-15 finishes, she placed 23rd at the JWC event in Dormagen, Germany on November 22, 2008.
Osier also dominated on the North American Cup (NAC) circuit, claiming five top-25 finishes since 2006. She finished first overall (Cadet Division) at the 2007 North American Cup in Dallas, Texas. She also earned a runner-up finish at the NAC in Portland, Ore. in Division I team sabre field.
At the Oregon Fencing Alliance, Osier won the Sportsmanship Award (2007) and served as an Athlete Representative to the Board of Directors (2007-present). She joins a growing list of fencers to come to Notre Dame from the Oregon Fencing Alliance (OFA), where former Irish assistant coach Ed Korfanty has coached her for several seasons. Current Irish fencers with ties to the OFA include the rising junior trio of sabre All-Americans Avery Zuck (Portland, Ore.), Sarah Borrmann (Beaverton, Ore.) and Eileen Hassett (Beaverton, Ore.). Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Mariel Zagunis and four year All-American Patrick Ghattas also came from the OFA.
James Kaull will join the men’s epee team in the fall.
Kaull is an epeeist who also participated in the World Junior Championships, competing as both a participant in the team event and the individual epee competition. He helped team USA to an 11th-place finish (out of 33 teams). He finished 68th in the individual event out of the 139-person field. He posted a 4-2 mark to finish second in Pool 2. In the first round of direct elimination, Kaull dropped a 15-13 decision to Dimitry Prokhorov of Israel.
“James is the top listed US junior; a talented epeeist who has the blend of technical and tactical perfection that his Polish coaches from Washington DC, Smolenski and Suchorski, have,” said Bednarksi. “He has the character needed to fence for the Fighting Irish and the character that will allow him to be a NCAA superstar in epee.”
A recent graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School, Kaull has turned in several impressive Junior World Cup performances since 2007. He finished first at the JWC event on January 20, 2007 in Montreal, Canada. He went on to record four top-25 finishes in his next six JWC appearances. Then, on January 5 of 2009, Kaull finished fifth at the JWC in Budapest, Hungary. He was also a member of the DCFC team that placed first at the 2008 Summer Nationals.
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