Head coach Janusz Bednarski has led the Notre Dame fencing team to three national championships, joining legendary Fighting Irish football coaches Knute Rockne and Frank Leahy and famed fencing skipper Michael DeCicco as the only coaches ever to lead their Notre Dame programs to three titles.

Irish Fencing Earns Top-Five Rankings In Coaches Poll

Jan. 18, 2012

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame fencing team opens the season ranked third in the women’s polls and fourth in the men’s in the first edition of the CollegeFencing360.com Coaches Poll, it was announced Wednesday. It is the first time since the 2009-10 postseason rankings that either squad has not ranked as the top team in the country.

Penn State, last year’s runner-up at the NCAAs, and Princeton took home first and second in each poll, respectively, while Harvard came in third in the men’s rankings. Ohio State rounds out the top five on the men’s side, while Northwestern and St. John’s check in at four and five in the women’s poll.

Since the start of the 2008 season, the Irish men have claimed victories in 106 of their last 107 regular season bouts, while the women have not lost a decision in their last 89 contests dating back to `09.

Notre Dame, however, must replace 11 members of the team from last year who claimed NCAA All-America honors at some point during their Irish careers. Seven members – Hayley Reese, Sarah Borrmann, Eileen Hassett, Zach Schirtz, Greg Schoolcraft, Barron Nydam, Avery Zuck – graduated, while four additional fencers – Ewa Nelip, Courtney Hurley, Ariel DeSmet, Gerek Meinhardt – are absent while attempting to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.

The Irish men began their season nearly two weeks ago (Jan. 7) with a 6-0 showing at the Western Duals. This weekend (Jan. 21-22), both the men’s and women’s squads head to New York to take part in two prestigious events, the St. John’s Duals in Queens, N.Y., and the NYU Invitational in New York, N.Y.

First Edition of the 2012 CollegeFencing360.com Coaches Poll (1/18/12):MEN1) Penn State2) Princeton3) Harvard4) Notre Dame5) Ohio State6) St. John's (NY)7) Pennsylvania8) Duke9) Sacred Heart10) YaleOthers receiving votes -- North Carolina, Columbia, Stanford,Air Force, NYU, Brown, Wayne State (MI)
WOMEN1) Penn State2) Princeton3) Notre Dame4) Northwestern5) St. John's (NY)6) Ohio State7) Harvard8) Temple9) Pennsylvania10) DukeOthers receiving votes -- Columbia, Cornell, Brown, Yale, North Carolina,Sacred Heart, NYU, MIT, Boston College