Former NCAA Champion and fifth-year senior Ariel DeSmet has emerged as the leader of the men's foil squad in 2014-15.

Irish Fencers Start The Season With A Pair of Dual Meets

Nov. 14, 2014

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s fencing teams begin their NCAA season this weekend with a pair of dual meets. First up for the women is an exhibition match against Northwestern, Friday, Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m. Then, both squads will depart campus Saturday afternoon and travel to Columbus, Ohio, to partake in the Ohio State Elite Cup Sunday.

The women’s Friday match takes place at the Castellan Family Fencing Center, located in the North Dome of the Joyce Center. Admission is free and pizza will be available. There will also be a free t-shirt giveaway for students. Sunday, the Irish will be in competition all day at the French Center Fieldhouse, located across the street from Ohio Stadium and next to the Ohio State Ice Rink.

On the men’s side, perhaps the most internationally renowned alum of the program, four-time, first-team All-American and defending NCAA Champion Gerek Meinhardt returns to the strip – this time, as a volunteer assistant coach.

Meinhardt, also a two-time Olympian and two-time NCAA Champion, capped his final year of eligibility in 2014 by winning the Byron V. Kanaley Award – the highest honor bestowed at the University’s end-of-year O.S.C.A.R.S. ceremony – and being named a first team Academic All-American.

He is succeeded on the Irish men’s foil squad by 2011 NCAA champion Ariel DeSmet – who coincidentally won the title his freshman season in Columbus, en route to the team’s 2011 NCAA title.

The Irish last traveled to Columbus for the 2014 NCAA Championships. Women’s foilists Lee Kiefer and Madison Zeiss faced each other in a battle for the weapon title, where Kiefer came out on top, 13-10, repeating as NCAA champion. For Zeiss, the second place finish stands as her best NCAA finish to date after tying for fourth in 2013 and finishing eighth in 2012.

In the other women’s weapon classes, seniors Nicole Ameli and Ashley Severson lead the epee squad after finishing eighth and 10th respectively at last year’s NCAAs. In sabre, two-time NCAA entrant Johanna Thill is joined by upperclassmen Grace Montemurro and Mary Regan, in addition to sophomore Allison Barry and four fierce freshwomen – Madeline Gallagher, Claudia Kulmacz, Jamie Norville and Russo.

On the men’s team, junior epeeist Garrett McGrath returns to a site where he defied the odds and finished second last March. In addition to McGrath, foilist Kristjan Archer finished tenth at the 2014 NCAA meet and sabreist John Hallsten placed 13th.

Results from both meets will be posted on, and up-to-the-minute postings can be found on the team’s Facebook and Twitter (@NDFencing) accounts.

Lizzie Mikes,

Media Services Coordinator