July 6, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Two members of the Notre Dame fencing team took home gold medals this past weekend as rising junior Ewa Nelip (Katowice, Poland) won gold in women’s epee at the World University Games in Belgrade, Serbia, and Gerek Meinhardt (San Fransisco, Calif.) was the foil champion in the Under-19 competition at the USA National Championships in Grapevine, Texas. Meinhardt also added a silver medal at the 2009 Senior Pan American Zonal Championships.
Nelip, representing her native Poland, advanced to the championship bout of the World University Games by defeating Nakano Nomozi of Japan (15-11) and Ukraine’s Olena Kryvytska (15-9). In the championship bout, Nelip trailed Romania’s Simona Deac 10-5 at the midway point, but rallied for a 15-13 victory in the final seconds to claim the dramatic victory.
The 2009 World University Games, officially titled “The Summer Universiade” began with opening ceremonies on July 1 and will conclude on July 12. First held in Turin in 1959, 2009 marks the 25th edition of the event and has brought together about 9,000 student athletes, coaches and officials from 143 countries and regions. To be eligible, participants must be between 17 and 28 and studying for a degree or diploma, or have graduated within the past year. About 9,000 student athletes, coaches and officials from 143 countries and regions are participating in 2009.
Nelip’s gold medal at the 25th World University Games wraps up an impressive year for the epeeist, who is coached at Notre Dame by epee specialist Marek Stepien. In April, Nelip won the silver medal at the Junior World Championships and the bronze medal at the Junior European Championships. Prior to those international successes, Nelip earned first team All-American honors as she finished tied for third with teammate Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) at the 2009 NCAA Championships.
Meinhardt, who will be a sophomore in September, won the U-19 foil gold at the National Championships. A few days prior to his gold, Meinhardt notched a second place finish at the 2009 Senior Pan American Zonal Championships in San Salvador, El Salvador to his growing list of accomplishments.
In El Salvador, Meinhardt took down Marcos Cardoso of Brazil (15-11) to advance to the final eight. He then edged Canada’s Julien Gaudreau-Pollender (15-14) for a place in the final four. To secure a place in the finals, Meinhardt knocked-off fellow American Miles Chamley-Watson (15-5) in the semifinal round. In the finals, Meinhardt fell to fellow American Kurt Getz (15-10).
In his first season with the Irish, Meinhardt, who is coached at Notre Dame by foil specialist Gia Kvaratskhelia, garnered first team All-American honors with a runner-up performance in men’s foil. Then, in April he captured the bronze medal at the Junior World Championship in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Prior to joining the Irish, Meinhardt represented Team USA at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.
— ND —