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Irish Fencers Turn In Impressive Showings At Penn State Open

Nov. 12, 2001

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Several members of the Notre Dame fencing program turned in strong performances at the 30th annual Penn State Open (Nov. 10-11), led by individual champions in four of the six events. All told, the Irish placed 10 fencers in the top four of their respective weapons, including three runner-up finishes.

Notre Dame’s champions included fifth-year senior women’s sabre captain Carianne McCullough (Philadelphia, Pa.), junior men’s foil captain Ozren Debic (Zagreb, Croatia) and junior men’s epee captain Jan Viviani (Haworth, N.J.).

Freshman Alicja Kryczalo (Gdansk, Poland) continued an impressive start to her collegiate career, beating classmate Andrea Ament (Cleveland, Ohio) 15-7 to win the women’s foil competition. Another Irish freshman, Michal Sobieraj (Krakow, Poland), finished second to Viviani in men’s epee while surging junior Matt Fabricant (Elizabethtown, N.J.) was the runner-up to PSU’s Alexander Weber in men’s sabre.

Notre Dame’s other top finishers in the men’s competition included fourth-place showings by fifth-year sabre Andrzej Bednarski (Granger, Ind.) and freshman foilist Derek Snyder (CHatsworth, Calif.) and a fifth-place finish from senior sabre captain Andre Crompton (Irvington, N.J.), plus an eighth-place showing by senior epeeist Brian Casas (Mishawaka, Ind.) and classmate Steve Mautone’s (Short Hills, N.J.) 12th-place effort in foil.

Notre Dame produced three of the top finishers in women’s foil, with junior Liza Boutsikaris (Sparta, N.J.) placing fourth. Junior captain Anna Carnick (Mishawaka, Ind.) led the Irish women’s epee competitors with her seventh-place finish.

A rare grouping in the women’s sabre pools caused several Irish fencers to eliminate each other. One pool featured three Irish fencers, with McCullough and sophomore Maggie Jordan (Maplewood, N.J.) eliminating sophomore Destanie Milo (Knox, Ind.) before Jordan knocked out yet another Irish sophomore, Jessie Filkins (Wilmette, Ill.) in the direct elimination. McCullough then eliminated Jordan, who finished seventh overall.

McCullough emerged atop a 40-fencer sabre field that included three All-Americans from the 2001 NCAAs: Penn State’s Stephanie Tam (7th at the NCAAs), Yale’s Sophie Jones (12th at the NCAAs, 8th at PSU) and Sarah Walsh of Johns Hopkins (11th at NCAAs, 13th at PSU). McCullough beat Tam in a dramatic final, rallying from a 14-10 deficit before registering the final touch.

Debic battled past a 40-man foil field, with other top fencers including PSU’s Nonpatat Panchan (the 2001 NCAA runner-up) and Yale Cohan of the Universsity of Pennsylvania (he placed 10th at the NCAAs). Snyder lost to Panchan in the semifinals before dropping the third-place bout to Cohen but Debic survived a tight final, beating Panchan 15-14 to match McCullough’s dramatic finish.

Kryczalo and Ament finished atop a group of 36 women’s foilists that included third-place performer Mindy Rostal of Princeon (the 2001 NCAA third-place finisher) and Yale’s Zane Selkirk, who earned All-America honors with a ninth-place finish at the 2001 NCAAs (she was fifth at PSU).

The 36 men’s epee fencers included four All-America opponents, among them 2001 NCAA champion Soren Thompson of Princeton (he placed fourth at PSU), Penn’s Scott Eriksen (10th at 2001 NCAAs, 11th at PSU) and PSU’s Daniel Landgren (5th NCAAs, 7th PSU). Viviani’s first-place finish helped avenge his 15-8 loss to PSU’s Adam Wiercioch in the 2001 NCAA semifinal round (Wierciach placed third at PSU).

Fabricant’s impressive second-place showing included finishing one spot ahead of PSU’s Mohaymen Rahimi, who placed eighth at the 2001 NCAAs.

Top finishers in the women’s epee competition included champion Stephanie Eim of PSU (she was third at the 2001 NCAAs) and third-place finisher Maya Lawrence, who earned All-America with a seventh-place NCAA effort.

One of Notre Dame’s top women’s epeeist, sophomore Kerry Walton (Londonberry, N.H.), did not compete at Penn State due to a schedule conflict with the North American Cup (in Dallas). Walton finished first at that elite event in the 93-fencer women’s epee field, with her 14-2 record including a 15-8 win over former high school teammate Kira Hohense.