Kerry Walton solidified her chances for making the U.S. World Championship Team after finishing second at the North American Cup event in Overland Park, Kan.

Irish Fencers Post More Top Results; Challenging Field Awaits At NYU Duals

Jan. 20, 2005

Members of the Notre Dame fencing team – who will open the team competition phase of their 2005 season this weekend versus a challenging field at the NYU Duals – have posted top results at recent national and international events, with several of the Irish fencers solidifying their chances for spots on the U.S. teams that will compete at the World Championship and the Junior World Championship.

Freshman Mariel Zagunis led the way at a Junior World Cup in Budapest, Hungary, during early January, placing 6th behind fellow Americans Becca Ward, Caitlin Thompson, Dagmara Woznick, Emily Jacobson and Dora Vargo of Hungary (Zagunis lost to her club teammate Ward in the round-of-8). Other Irish fencers who competed in the Budapest JWC included sophomore sabre Patrick Ghattas (47th) and sophomore epeeist Amy Orlando (52nd), plus sophomore sabres Valerie Providenza and Matt Stearns (both finished outside the top 64).

A contingent of 14 Notre Dame fencers recently returned from the USFA’s North American Cup event in Overland Park, Kan. Top finishers (see details below) in the senior-level events included fifth-year epeeist Kerry Walton (2nd), Zagunis (3rd), senior foilist Andrea Ament (7th), Orlando (8th) and Ghattas (9th), with other Irish competitors including Stearns, sophomore foilist Frank Bontempo and four men’s epeeists (sophomores Aaron Adjemian, Patrick Gettings and Jesse Laeuchli, plus freshman Greg Howard).

In the Overland Park N.A.C. junior-level bouts (under-20), Providenza, Orlando and Stearns each placed 3rd in their respective events while Ghattas finished 8th. Other Notre Dame fencers in the junior-level bouts included junior sabre Nicholas Diacou and freshman foilists Rachel Cota and Melanie Bautista (Zagunis did not fence in the junior bouts while Providenza did not fence in the senior/”open” competition). Former Notre Dame four-time All-American and 2004 Olympian Jan Viviani placed 12th in the senior men’s epee.

The updated rankings that will determine the U.S. teams for the World Championships (three fencers per weapon) feature Zagunis in the top women’s sabre slot (followed by her Olympic teammates Sada and Emily Jacobson and her club teammate Becca Ward) while Walton is 1st and Orlando 3rd in the women’s epee qualification points (Lindsay Campbell is 2nd, Maya Lawrence 4th and Kelly Hurley 5th). Ament also is in line to qualify for the women’s foil team, behind Emily Cross and Samantha Nemecek.

Updated rankings for the Junior World Championship team again feature Zagunis in the top women’s sabre slot (followed by Ward, Emily Jacobson and Thompson) while Orlando is 3rd in women’s epee, behind Hurley and Orlando’s former club teammate Keri Byerts (Hurley’s sister Courtney is lurking in the 4th spot). Ghattas will need to rally from his own No. 4 spot in men’s sabre, behind Ben Igoe, Luther Clement and Matthew Zich.

Following are quick notes on the NYU Duals (check back to for a complete preview of the season-opening event), plus notes on the current USFA and FIE world rankings and details on the Overland Park N.A.C.:

NYU DUALS SCHEDULE – Notre Dame’s challenging first-week matches will come at the NYU Duals on Sunday, Jan. 23, vs. Yale (7:30 a.m.), Columbia (8:30), NYU (9:30), St. John’s (10:30), Stanford (12:30) and Ohio State (1:30) … fans wishing to see a matchup of the 2004 U.S. Olympic women’s sabre fencers will need to arrive early, as the ND-Yale matchup will feature Zagunis vs. Sada Jacobson while Emily Jacobson and her Columbia teammates will face the Irish one hour later (Yale will not fence Columbia at the NYU Duals) … the preseason coaches poll just was released and has the defending NCAA champs OSU holding down the top spots in both the men’s and women’s poll (the ND women are 2nd and the Irish men 4th) … the Yale men received the 12th-most votes for the preseason poll while Columbia is 5th in both polls … St. John’s is 3rd in the men’s poll (7th in the women’s) while the Stanford men are 9th and the women received the 11th-most votes in that poll … Penn State is 2nd in the men’s poll and 3rd in the women’s (Harvard holds the No. 4 spot in the women’s poll).

UPDATED RANKINGS – The USFA “rolling” national rankings are different from the National “Team” rankings listed above (they use different results criteria) … the updated USFA senior-level (or “open,” covering all age groups) rankings for the respective weapons include Zagunis in the No. 2 spot (behind Sada Jacobson), plus Viviani (4th), Walton (5th, behind James, Hurley, Stephanie Eim and Lawrence), Ament (8th), Orlando (8th), Ghattas (11th), Providenza (13th) and Adjemian (50th) … the updated USFA junior-level (under-20) rankings include: Zagunis (1st), Ghattas (2nd, behind Igoe), Orlando (2nd, behind Hurley), Providenza (10th), Howard (10th), Stearns (13th) and Adjemian (19th) … the FIE overall world rankings include Zagunis in the No. 2 spot behind Sada Jacobson and senior foilist Alicja Kryczalo (a native of Gdansk, Poland) ranked 127th … five ND fencers are listed in the world junior rankings: Zagunis (1st), Ghattas (25th), Providenza (52nd), Orlando (69th) and Stearns (91st).

WOMEN’S FOIL – Ament reached the round-of-8 in the 91-fencer senior women’s foil field before losing a 15-13 bout to her former U.S. Junior National teammate Cross (who now fences at Harvard) … Ament’s 7th-place effort included a loss to Julie Smith and a win over Penn State’s Meredith Chin to reach the round-of-8 … the top six finishers included Cross, Nemecek, Julie Seal, former Wayne State standout Inga Wallrabenstein, Ohio State’s Hanna Thompson and Doris Wilmette (Ament also finished ahead of Northwestern’s Jessica Florendo and PSU’s Chin) … Bautista (66th) and Cota (83rd) competed in the 100-fencer junior women’s foil competition.

MEN’S FOIL – Bontempo placed 85th in the 170-fencer senior men’s foil field.

WOMEN’S EPEE – Walton lost to 16-year-old upstart Tess Finkel in the senior women’s epee final (15-10) … she earlier beat Campbell in a 15-10 semifinal (Kristin Foellmer-Suchorski was the other semifinalist) and topped Byerts in the round-of-8, with earlier wins over Yale’s Erica Korb, Orlando and Kelley Hurley … Orlando’s 8th-place finish in the 101-fencer field included a key win over her club teammate Byerts (9-8 in overtime), avenging a loss earlier in the day during the junior competition, before losing to Walton … Orlando also posted noteworthy wins over Lauren Willock (who placed 3rd at the Richmond N.A.C.), former Princeton fencer Lawrence and Brita Goldie … in the 83-fencer junior women’s epee competition, Orlando reached the semifinal before losing a 15-7 bout to Byerts … the top finishers included Hurley, Byerts, Orlando, Kayley French, Christie French and Finkel.

MEN’S EPEE – Viviani placed 12th in the 183-fencer senior men’s epee filed while four current Irish fencers also competed: Howard (32nd), Adjemian (49th), Laeuchli (108th) and Gettings (127th) … Howard lost to Ohio State’s Christian Rivera in the round-of-32 (15-14) … in the 132-fencer junior men’s epee competition, Howard placed 33rd (one spot ahead of Adjemian).

WOMEN’S SABRE – Zagunis beat Thompson in the senior women’s sabre round-of-8 (15-4) before losing to the surprising Anika Davis in the semifinals (14-15) … Sada Jacobson (who fences at Yale) won the 72-fencer competition, with Amelia Gaillard also reaching the semifinals (former OSU fencer Louise Bond-Williams was 5th) … Zagunis earlier had posted wins over Ward, OSU’s Syvenna Siebert (15-10) and both of her Olympic teammates (Sada and Emily Jacobson, with a 15-10 win over Emily in the direct-elimination) … Providenza finished behind Ward and Thompson in the 66-fencer junior women’s sabre field, with a win in the pools over Duke’s Ibtihaj Muhammad … she topped OSU’s Eileen Grench to reach the round-of-8 and then beat Daria Schneider in a 15-14 quarterfinal.

MEN’S SABRE – Ghattas took 9th in the 111-fencer senior men’s sabre field, beating U.S. Olympian Jason Rogers (of OSU; 15-10) to reach the round of 12 before losing to Air Force’s Tim Morehouse (15-11) … Ghattas earlier beat former OSU fencer Colin Parker in the direct- elimination … Stearns placed 36th and Diacou 98th … top finishers included OSU’s Adam Crompton, Mike Montselidza, Clement, Morehouse, Igoe (Rutgers), Sergey Isayenko (St. John’s), Ivan Lee (former NCAA champ, with SJU) and William Thanhouser … in the 93-fencer junior men’s sabre competition, Stearns went 5-1 in the pools (lost 5-4 to Thomas Kolasa) before rolling off wins over Dan Berliner (15-10), Penn’s Zachary Yeates (15-11) and PSU’s Zich (15-11), followed by a 15-11 loss to OSU’s Jason Paul … he then battled back with a 15-12 win over club teammate Sam Kragh (15-12) and Columbia’s Alexander Krul (15-14) but lost to Paul again in a 15-14 semifinal … Paul went on to beat Zich in the final (Andrew Stetsiv was the other semifinalist) … Ghattas (8th) beat Igoe to reach the round-of-8 before losing a 15-13 bout to Zich … the 5th-8th finishers included Clement, Krul and Igoe (Thanhouser placed 16th).