Budapest, HUNGARY – Notre Dame fencers Ewa Nelip (Katowice, Poland/I L.O. Kopernika), Barron Nydam (Rancho Sante Fe, Calif./Santa Fe Christian) and Avery Zuck (Beaverton, Ore./Jesuit) competed at a Junior World Cup event on January 3-5 during their winter break. Nelip earned a bronze in women’s epee and Nydam took home the silver in men’s sabre at the event, which featured the best junior fencers from around the world.
Nelip tied for the bronze on January 4, recording 20 points toward her FIE ranking for her showing at the event. The sophomore All-American tied Susannah Scanlon of the U.S. for third, and finished behind only gold medalist Violetta Kolobova of Russia and silver medalist Erika Kirpu of Estonia.
Nelip, one of five fencers from Poland in the 64-person field, entered the event ranked 14th. She reached the final eight with wins over Melinda Mancinelli of Italy (15-12), Michaela Kock of Finland (15-8) and Yana Zvereva of Russia (15-13). Nelip then beat Julia Beljajeva of Estonia (15-14) to advance to the semifinals. In her semifinal bout, Nelip was out-touched by Kirpu, 15-10.
On January 5, Nydam and Zuck took part in the men’s sabre portion of the competition. Nydam racked up 26 points towards his ranking with a silver medal finish, while Zuck earned four points by finishing in 17th-place. With a second place showing at a Junior World Cup event held earlier in the season in Montreal, Nydam has two recent silver medalist finishes on the Junior World Cup circuit.
The 22nd-ranked Nydam began his journey to the finals with a 15-11 triumph over Alexander Crutchett of Great Britain. Then, he defeated Rustem Gilmullin of Russia (15-9) and Marlon Hirzmann of Germany (15-9) for a place in the final eight. Next up for the sophomore All-American was third ranked Benedikt Wagner of Germany, whom Nydam downed, 15-12. In the semifinal bout Nydam defeated Poland’s Michal Gal (15-13), before falling to third-ranked Aron Szilagyi of Hungary in the finals (15-11).
Zuck won his first round matchup with Great Britain’s Maiyuran Ratneswaran by a 15-10 margin before falling in the second round to Maciej Regulewski, 15-11.
The Irish have had a strong Junior World Cup season as Notre Dame student-athletes have posted seven total top-five finishes on the circuit. Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas/Earl Warren) leads the way with three top-five finishes, including gold medal finishes in Tauber Germany and Montreal, Canada. The freshman epeeist added a bronze medal finish in Helsinki, Finland. Nydam took home silver medal honors in Budapest and Montreal, while Nelip and Zuck have one top-five finish apiece. Zuck’s came when he placed fifth in Dormagen, Germany.
The 2008-09 men’s and women’s fencing teams will open their dual-match season on January 24 at the St. John’s Duals in Queens, N.Y.
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