March 27, 2016

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By Joanne Norell

WALTHAM, Mass. — The University of Notre Dame men’s fencing team completed competition at the NCAA Championships on Sunday and added five more All-Americans to the all-time scrolls, but the Fighting Irish finished the weekend in fifth place after entering the day in fourth at the Gosman Sports and Convocation Center at Brandeis University.

Columbia (174 points) won the team title for the second straight year, followed by Ohio State (167), Princeton (161, +147) and St. John’s (161, +106). The Irish finished the weekend with 160 bout wins.

Notre Dame got its second foil First Team All-American of the weekend — this time on the men’s side — as freshman Axel Kiefer advanced to the semifinal round after finishing pool play in third place.

Sophomore Virgile Collineau went 7-1 on Sunday to take home Third Team All-America honors.

Sophomore Virgile Collineau went 7-1 on Sunday to take home Third Team All-America honors.

In the semifinal, Kiefer faced off with Penn State’s Nobuo Bravo. Fencing from behind through the first two periods, Kiefer tied the bout at 11-11, scoring the first two touches of the third. Bravo recorded the next four points, however, ousting Kiefer in a 15-11 decision.

Kiefer finished the round robin with a 15-8 record, earning the semifinal seed with a +24 indicator. Sophomore Virgile Collineau rebounded from a disappointing start to competition Saturday, going 7-1 in Sunday’s pools and finishing in 11th place with a 13-10 record and +12 indicator.

Senior Garrett McGrath turned in a solid day Sunday, posting a 6-2 epee record to rise from 15th to eighth for Second Team All-America honors. McGrath finished 13-10 overall with a +12 indicator and posted his second-highest finish in four career appearances at the NCAA Championships (runner-up in 2014).

Also in epee, freshman Darius Zacharakis finished in 18th with a 9-14 mark.

The Irish came away with two Third Team All-Americans in men’s sabre, as sophomore Jonathan Fitzgerald finished in 10th with a 14-9 record and a -1 indicator while classmate Jonah Shainberg rose from 18th to 12th after going 6-2 Sunday and finishing the weekend at 12-11 with a +6 indicator.

With the collegiate season finished, members of the Irish will next compete at the USA Fencing Division I Championship April 8-11 in Richmond, Virginia.

NCAA Fencing Championships
March 24-27, 2016
Hosted by Brandeis University
Waltham, Massachusetts
Men’s Results
Sunday (Through Round 5)
3. Axel Kiefer 15-8 (+24)*
11. Virgile Collineau 13-10 (+12)***
Foil Semifinals
[2] Nobuo Bravo (PSU) def. [3] Axel Kiefer (ND) 15-11
Foil (Final)
T3. Axel Kiefer
8. Garrett McGrath 13-10 (+12)**
18. Darius Zacharakis 9-14 (-18)
10. Jonathan Fitzgerald 14-9 (-1)***
12. Jonah Shainberg 12-11 (+6)***
Women’s Results
Foil (Through Round 5)
3. Sabrina Massialas 20-3 (+61)*
10. Nicole McKee 14-9 (+5)***
Foil Semifinals
[2] Eleanor Harvey (OSU) def. [3] Sabrina Massialas (ND) 15-9
Foil (Final)
T3. Sabrina Massialas
Epee (Through Round 5)
5. Catherine Lee 14-9 (+9)**
14. Madeline Antekeier 11-12 (-1)
Sabre (Through Round 5)
6. Francesca Russo 13-10 (+10)**
12. Tara Hassett 12-11 (-6)***
Final Team Standings
1. Columbia/Barnard 174
2. Ohio State 167
3. Princeton 161
4. St. John’s 161
5. Notre Dame 160

*First Team All-American
**Second Team All-American
***Third Team All-American

To keep up with Irish fencing, visit, follow @NDFencing on Twitter and like Notre Dame Fencing on Facebook.


Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2014 and coordinates communications efforts for the Notre Dame women’s soccer, men’s tennis, women’s tennis and fencing programs. Norell is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University and earned her master’s degree from Georgetown University in 2013.