April 13, 2009
BELFAST, Northern Ireland – Sophomore epeeist Ewa Nelip (Katowice, Poland/I.L.O. Kopernika) and freshman foilist Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif./Lick-Wilmerding) overcame one of the toughest fields in international fencing to take home the silver and bronze medals in their respective weapons at the Junior World Championships, which took place from April 4-13.
Freshmen epeeist Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, TX/Earl Warren) and freshman sabreist Marcel Frenkel (San Paulo, Brazil) joined sophomore sabreists Barron Nydam (Rancho Sante Fe/Sante Fe Christian) and Avery Zuck (Beaverton, Ore./Jesuit) as Notre Dame’s other participants in the marquee event.
Nelip added a second silver medal as she helped Poland to a second-place finish in the women’s epee team competition. Hurley earned a bronze with Team USA’s women’s epee contingent. Meinhardt also won a silver medal in team portion of the event, as the U.S. foil team came in second to Italy. Nydam and Zuck helped the U.S. men’s sabre squad to a seventh-place finish. Frenkel competed as an individual because Brazil did not field a four-person sabre team.
Representing her native Poland, Nelip, a 2009 third-place finisher at the NCAA Championships and a first team All-American, entered direct elimination as the eighth seed to earn a bye into the round of 64. She defeated Mikako Fukuda of Japan, 15-5, to advance to the round of 32. She continued to dominate in the next round, defeating Toncica Topic of Croatia, 15-3. In her final-16 bout, she knocked-off ninth seeded Violetta Kolobova of Russia, 15-11, to advance to the quarterfinals, where she met Korea’s Soon Hwa Lee. Nelip came out on top, 15-9. In the semifinals, she faced her fellow countrywoman and teammate, Dominika Mosler, the fourth seed. Nelip advanced, again by a 15-9 margin, to advance to the championship bout. In the finals, Nelip’s run came to an end as she fell to third-seeded Sun Yujie of China, 15-5.
Meinhardt, one of Team U.S.A.’s four foil entrants, had a similarly impressive run to the medal stand. He entered the direct elimination table as the 47th-seed and had to beat New Zealand’s Chris Bell, 15-6, to advance to the round of 64. In the round of 64, Meinhardt downed 18th-seeded Mats Stijlaart of the Netherlands, 15-5. Then in the round of 32, he outdueled China’s Chen Li, 15-11. With a berth in the quarterfinals on the line, Meinhardt, a 2009 NCAA second-place finisher and first team All-American, met second-seeded Jean-Paul Tony Helissey of France. Meinhardt proved victorious, taking out the Frenchman by a 15-11 margin. He then defeated Paul Fausser, also of France, 15-9 to advance to the semifinals. But Meinhardt dropped a 15-13 decision to Edward Jefferies of Great Britain in the semifinals.
Hurley, a 2009 NCAA Championship third-place finisher and first team All-American, joined Nelip as a top-16 finisher in women’s epee. She went 5-1 in pool play, earning a bye into the round of 64 as the 11th-seed. She ran off wins over Ji Seon Kim of Korea, 15-5, and 22nd-seeded Cheryl Jahn, 15-9, to advance to the final-16. But she lost a closely contested bout to Estonia’s Julia Zuikova, 15-14.
Notre Dame’s final three entrants, Nydam, Zuck and Frenkel helped comprise the men’s sabre field. Zuck, a 2009 NCAA 5th-place finisher and second team All-American also turned in a top-16 finish, as he ended in 16th-place. He posted a 4-2 mark in pool play and advanced to the table of 64 as the 31st-seed. He won his opening two bouts, first over Matthias Willau of Austria, 15-9, then adding a 15-11 win over South Korea’s Ding Ho Choi before losing to eventual third-place finisher Boris Savich of Russia, 15-10.
Nydam, a 2009 NCAA 10th-place finisher and third team All-American, finished in 33rd-place in Belfast. After posting an impressive 5-0 record in pool play, the sophomore, seeded sixth, was defeated by Andrey Trinkal of the Ukraine in the round of 64, 15-12. Frenkel posted a 2-3 record in pool play. He forced his way into the table of 64 with a win over Radek Brodil of the Czech Republic, 15-8. In the round of 64, Frenkel dropped a 15-3 decision to eighth-seeded Bon-Gil Gu of Korea.