Dec. 20, 2003

Several Notre Dame fencers fared well in recent national and international tournament, including eight who competed in the Dec. 12-14 North American Cup even in Palm Springs, Calif. Notre Dame’s top finishers at the NAC – which featured open competitions for all age groups and helps earn qualification points for international events – included junior foilist Andrea Ament’s third-place showing and a fifth-place finish for senior women’s epeeist Kerry Walton.

Three Notre Dame freshmen – epeeist Amy Orlando and sabres Patrick Ghattas and Valerie Providenza – added 10th-place finishes in their respective competitions, with junior foilist Derek Snyder placing 19th while Angela Vincent was 26th in women’s sabre and fellow freshman Aaron Adjemian 56th in a talented 150-fencer epee field. Former Notre Dame fencer Jan Viviani (’03) placed fifth in the men’s epee competition.

Orlando earlier posted an impressive 8th-place finish in the junior women’s epee competition at a World Cup even in Palermo, Italy (Nov. 23), with her U.S. teammate Kamara James placing first while Italians occupied the 2nd-7th spots.

Ghattas also competed in a recent World Cup, placing 29th in the junior men’s sabre bouts in Dormagan, Germany (Nov. 30, causing him to miss ND’s thrilling pair of 14-13 wins at Penn State that same weekend).

Ament advanced to the semifinals before losing to Emily Cross (the World Cup junior-level champ), with Felicia Zimmerman taking second in the 68-fencer women’s foil field. Several of Ament’s rivals from NCAA events were in the field, with Ohio State’s Hannah Thompson finishing fifth and Northwestern’s Julia Foldi 12th.

Walton lost an 11-10 quarterfinal matchup with Stephanie Eim, the former Penn State star who dropped the 2002 NCAA title bout to Walton. James finished atop the 84-fencer women’s epee field, with another former PSU star (Jessie Burke) finishing behind Walton in 7th. Orlando, who dropped a 15-11 bout vs. Walton, advanced to the round of 16 before finishing 10th. Both Irish fencers placed well ahead of one of their top Midwest rivals, Anna Vinnikov of Wayne State (29th).

Ghattas added a solid showing versus a top-flight field of 87 men’s sabres, suffering a round-of-16 loss to Ohio State’s Jason Rogers. Many top college fencers – both former and present – finished near the top of the field, among them former NCAA champions Keeth Smart and Ivan Lee of St. John’s, plus Rogers, current SJU sabre Serhiy Isayenko and PSU’s Marten Zagunis (Ghattas finished one spot ahead of OSU’s Adam Crompton, the ’03 NCAA champ and brother of former ND All-American Andre Crompton).

Providenza maintained her spot among the nation’s top women’s sabres, finishing behind the likes of Emily and Sada Jacobson, Louise Bond-Williams (the ’02 NCAA champ while at OSU) and 2003 NCAA champ Alexis Jemal of Rutgers (current OSU fencer Marquerite Plekhanov finished 17 shots behind Providenza in the 68-fencer field).

Snyder battled through a tough 115-fencer men’s epee field, finishing behind rival Nitai Kfir of SJU but ahead of his longtime friend and former U.S. Junior National teammate Steve Gerberman of Stanford (who placed 43rd).

Adjemian and Viviani squared off with another deep field in the men’s epee competition, with Viviani advancing all the way to the quaterfinals (his longtime rival Seth Kelsey, the ’03 NCAA champ while fencing at Air Force, finished second).

Viviani stands 5th in the latest USFA national rankings (as of Dec. 17), behind Kelsey, Princeton’s Soren Thompson (another former NCAA champ), Eric Hansen and Cody Mattern. Adjemian checks in at 32nd on that list and is 8th in the USFA junior-level men’s epee rankings.

Ament remains near the top of the USFA women’s foil rankings (4th), behind only Stanford’s Iris Zimmerman (the ’01 NCAA champ), Erinn Smart and Cross. Providenza now ranks 8th in the overall and junior-level rankings, meaning that the nation’s top women’s sabres all are under the age of 21. Fencers above her in the rankings include the Jacobson sisters, Mariel Zagunis, Christine Booker, Jemal, Amelia Gaillard and Vivian Imaizumi – with Vincent 22nd in the junior rankings and 39th overall.

Orlando (10th) and Walton (11th) are among the top fencers in the USFA women’s epee rankings, with Orlando 3rd in the junior-level rankings behind James and Kelley Hurley.

Ghattas is 17th in the USFA men’s sabre rankings and 5th among junior-level competitors, behind Crompton, Tim Hagaman, Mike Momtselidze and David Donville – with Snyder now 33rd in the overall men’s foil rankings.