March 19, 1999

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Notre Dame fencing team moved from sixth to fourth place at the NCAA championships in Waltham, Mass at Brandeis University. Freshman sabremen Gabor Szelle earned first-team All-American honors with his second place finish. Four-time defending champion Penn State leads the competition with 66 points, Columbia is in second place with 61 points. The fourth-place Irish have 53 points and trail third-place St. John’s by seven points.

Szelle, in his first NCAA championship, finished with a 20-3 record. Szelle lost 15-4 in the final of the medal round to Keeth Smart of St. John’s. 1998 NCAA sabre champion Luke LaValle went 6-3 on the second day and finished the competition with a 12-11 record. LaValle, with his 11th place finish, earned All-American honors for the fourth consecutive year.

The Notre Dame foilists, Stephane Auriol and Charles Hayes, accounted for 21 of the 53 Irish points. Hayes placed 14th, posting 11 wins against 12 losses. Auriol finished with a 10-13 record going 6-3 on the second day of competition. Auriol, the second-year Irish captain, finished 16th.

On Saturday the opening rounds of men’s and women’s epee and women’s foil will be fenced. Irish epeeists Brian Casas and James Gaither will duel in their first NCAA championship competition, while the All-American quartet of foilists Myriah Brown and Sara Walsh and epeeists Magda Krol and Nicole Mustilli look to continue their success at the championship.