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Irish Head To Detroit For Midwest Regional Championships

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s fencing teams will begin the march toward the national title Saturday when the Irish travel to the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships hosted by the University of Detroit Mercy.

The regional, which will run from 9 a.m. ET to 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday, will serve as the qualifying tournament for the National Collegiate Fencing Championships.

WHAT: NCAA Midwest Regional Championships
WHERE: Calihan Hall at the University of Detroit Mercy | Detroit, Mich.
WHEN: 9 a.m. ET, March 7, 2020
WHO: Notre Dame, Cleveland State, Denison, Detroit Mercy, Lawrence, Northwestern, Ohio State and Wayne State
LINKS: @NDFencing | Live Results


Both Irish fencing squads will be looking to qualify the maximum 12 fencers to the 2020 National Collegiate Fencing Championships, which will be hosted by the University of Detroit Mercy & Detroit Sports Commission later this month.

Placement at the NCAA regional competition accounts for 60 percent of a participant’s selection into the Championships with Fencer’s Seeding Factor (FSF) accounting for the other 40 percent. The regional champion will automatically be considered for allocation for recommendation to participate in the championships and, if a school has more than two qualifiers, it will be an institutional decision as to who will be recommended.

The regional competition consists of one round of pool play in each weapon, with total wins determining placement. Ties will be broken first by indicator, then by touches scored. Midwest region fencers can qualify up to five competitors in women’s foil, women’s epee and men’s sabre and four in women’s sabre, men’s epee and men’s foil. The women’s round robin will begin at 9 a.m. ET, followed by the men’s at 12:30 p.m. ET.


The Irish will send 21 fencers to the strip Saturday in hopes of qualifying 12 (two per weapon, per gender) for the NCAA Championships. In each of the past five seasons, the Irish have reached that number, leading to a third-place national finish in 2015, a fifth-place finish in 2016, national title performances in 2017 and 2018 and a third-place finish in 2019. Seven Irish fencers earned All-America honors en route to last season’s National Collegiate Fencing Championship: Nick Itkin, Axel Kiefer (‘19), Amanda Sirico, Amita Berthier, Sabrina Massialas (‘19), Kara Linder and Tara Hassett (‘19). Of those seven, Itkin captured the national title in men’s foil and Keifer, Sirico and Berthier also finished in the top three for first-team recognition. 

At last season’s Midwest Regional, the Irish claimed five titles: one by Linder in women’s sabre, one by Massialas in women’s foil, one by Sirico in women’s epee, one by Arsenii Panteleev in men’s sabre and one by Itkin in men’s foil. That total was believed to be the most in program history and was the most for the Irish since winning three in 2016.

Irish Regional Participants (Preliminary Seed)
Men’s Epee — Harrison Kimatian (3), Valentin Matveev (6), Darius Zacharakis (8), Joshua Zhang (9)
Men’s Foil — Andrew Machovec (1), Marcello Olivares (2)
Men’s Sabre — Alessandro Contreras (1), Jared Smith (3), Malcolm Fields (6)
Women’s Epee — Amanda Sirico (1), Miriam Grady (5), Dasha Yefremenko (6), Julia Barry (8), Giorgia Giordano (12)
Women’s Foil — Stefani Deschner (1), Samantha Viqueira (2), Morgan Partridge (3)
Women’s Sabre — Kara Linder (2), Regina O’Brien (4), Reghan Ward (5), Natalie Disher (8)


The Irish were dominant two weeks ago as the hosts of the 2020 ACC Championships, winning both men’s and women’s team titles and claiming all six individual titles at the Castellan Family Fencing Center. The men swept Boston College (18-9), North Carolina (19-8) and Duke (17-10) in team play, while Andrew Machovec (men’s foil), Josiah Broughton (men’s epee) and Alessandro Contreras (men’s sabre) took home gold. The women similarly defeated their ACC opponents, defeating BC (19-8), UNC (22-5) and Duke (18-9), and Stefani Deschner (women’s foil), Miriam Grady (women’s epee) and Kara Linder (women’s sabre) swept the individual crowns. Following the championships, Grady and freshman foilist Marcello Olivares were named the weekend’s Most Valuable Fencers.


CollegeFencing360 released the third coaches poll of the season on March 6, with both Irish teams ranking third in the polls.

Men’s Rankings
1. Harvard
2. Columbia
3. Notre Dame
4. St. John’s
5. Ohio State
6. Princeton
7. Penn State
8. Penn
9. Duke
10. NYU

Women’s Rankings
1. Columbia
2. Princeton
3. Notre Dame
4. Ohio State
5. Temple
6. Penn State
7. Penn
8. Northwestern
9. Harvard
10. Yale