March 13, 2007

The Notre Dame fencing team – looking for its third NCAA title in the past five years – officially has qualified 11 out of the maximum 12 fencers for the 2006 NCAA Championships, to be held March 22-25 at Drew University in Madison, N.J. The Irish essentially clinched all 11 of their spots at last Saturday’s Midwest Regional, with Notre Dame landing the maximum two fencers in every weapon except for women’s epee.

The format of the 2007 NCAAs will reverse from the 2006 schedule, with the men competing on the first two days and then the women fencing on the weekend.

Three schools – Columbia, Penn State and St. John’s – qualified the maximum 12 fencers, with Notre Dame’s Midwest rival Ohio State also sending 11. Defending champion Harvard will be represented with 10 – setting up a potential six-team battle for the top spots. Those six teams account for nearly half of the total entries in the 2007 NCAAs (68 of 144). Ohio State qualified two fencers in every weapon but women’s foil while Harvard is sending only one men’s epeeist and one women’s sabreist.

The accomplishment of winning the NCAA championship while fencing below the maximum allotment of fencers is not without precedent. Notre Dame completed the feat as recently as 2005, when an 11-fencer contingent claimed the national championship for the Irish after edging Ohio State by two points.

Note that a more in-depth look at the NCAA field will be posted later this week on, which again will provide unmatched coverage of the NCAA Fencing Championship in the days leading up to the competition and following each day of bouting. Notre Dame fencing fans wishing to track the action throughout each day will have two options for the 2007 NCAAs:

* Irish Alert text messages will be sent out several times each day (typically at the top of each hour). Irish Alert is a free service that provides text-message updates for ND fencing (and other sports, if selected). For easy signup, see the following link (also linked via the fencing main page):

* The ND Sports Hotline has been a popular option in the past few years for Irish fencing fans to track the NCAAs. The hotline again will be updated several times each day, typically at the top of the hour (call 574-631-3000, then choose option 8 and then option 3).

Notre Dame’s 11 qualifiers include a pair of three-time All-America sabreists – seniors Valerie Providenza (the 2004 NCAA champion) and two-time NCAA runner-up Patrick Ghattas – plus junior foilist Jakub Jedrkowiak (a two-time All-American) and sophomore foilist Adi Nott, who earned All-America honors at the 2006 NCAAs. Two sophomore members of the Irish men’s fencing team, epeeist Karol Kosta and foilist Mark Kubik, also are making a return to the NCAAs.

The program’s 11 entrants include five others who will be making their debut at the NCAAs, with that group including local product Greg Howard, a junior epeeist from Granger who graduated from St. Joseph’s High School and trained as a youth at the Mishawaka-based Indiana Fencing Academy. Notre Dame’s other NCAA newcomers will include three sophomores – foilist Emilie Prot and sabreists Ashley Serrette and Bill Thanhouser – plus freshman epeeist Kelley Hurley, who joins Ghattas as a hopeful for the 2008 U.S. Olympic team.

Ghattas and Providenza will be looking to earn All-America honors for the fourth time, a feat accomplished by 15 previous Notre Dame fencers. Ghattas would become the program’s fourth men’s sabreist to be a four-time All-American (following Mike Sullivan, Leszek Nowosielski and Luke LaValle) while Providenza would be the first Notre Dame women’s sabreist to achieve that honor in the short history of her weapon (women’s sabre made its debut on the NCAA level in 2000).

Fencers will compete at the NCAAs in an initial round-robin, with five-touch bouts for the 24 competitors in each weapon. After the round-robin, the top four fencers in each event will fencer direct-elimination 15-touch bouts to decide 1st-4th place (those bouts do not count to the team standings).

Team standings at the championship will be based on points earned by each individual, with a team awarded one point for each round-robin victory by its fencers during the NCAAs.

Highlights of the National Collegiate Men’s and Women’s Fencing Championships will be shown on CBS at 1:00 p.m. eastern time on Sat., May 5. The seasonal show will feature highlights of 15 different NCAA championships that took place during the winter.

Total Qualifiers for the 2007 NCAA Fencing Championships (144)
12 – Columbia, Penn State, St. John’s
11 – Notre Dame, Ohio State
10 – Harvard
9 – Pennsylvania
7 – Princeton, Stanford
6 – Wayne State
5 – Northwestern, Yale
4 – Air Force, North Carolina, Rutgers
3 – Brandeis, Duke, NYU
2 – Brown, Cal State Fullerton, Cornell
1 – Boston College, Detroit, Drew, Johns Hopkins, MIT, Temple, UC San Diego

The following individuals were selected to participate in the 2007 NCAA Fencing Championships:

MEN’S FOIL – Nathaniel Smith (Air Force), Will Friedman (Brandeis), Kurt Getz (Columbia), Scott Sugimoto (Columbia), Eliot Cohen (Duke), Benjamin Hendricks (Duke), Kai Itameri-Kinter (Harvard), Enoch Woodhouse (Harvard), David Ferguson (Johns Hopkins), Jakub Jedrkowiak (Notre Dame), Mark Kubik (Notre Dame), Andras Horanyi (Ohio State), Will Jeter (Ohio State), Ronald Berkowsky (Pennsylvania), Michael Galligan (Pennsylvania), Chun Ming Chang (Penn State), Nicholas Chinman (Penn State), Alejandro Bras (Princeton), Henry Kennard (St. John’s), Alexis Landreville (St. John’s), Richard Fulton (Stanford), Phill Arredondo (Stanford), Cameron Sprowles (UC San Diego), John Gurrieri (Yale)

MEN’S EPEE – Peter French (Air Force), Kai Moritz-Keller (Brandeis), Jacob Jennings (Cal State Fullerton), Max Czapanskiy (Columbia), Dwight Smith (Columbia), Dana Sanford (Drew), Teddy Sherrill (Harvard), Greg Howard (Notre Dame), Karol Kostka (Notre Dame), Jason Pryor (Ohio State), Mykhaylo Mazur (Ohio State), Benjamin Wieder (Pennsylvania), Steffan Launer (Penn State), Arthur Urman (Penn State), Tommi Hurme (Princeton), Jason Henderson (Rutgers), Adrian Pacia (Rutgers), Benjamin Bratton (St. John’s), Stanley Vaksman (St. John’s), Clayton Kenney (Stanford), Marek Petraszek (Wayne State), Slava Zingerman (Wayne State), John Beski (Yale) Michael Pearce (Yale)

MEN’S SABRE – Michael O’Connor (Air Force), Malcolm Conley (Boston College), Dan Mahoney (Brown), Alexander Krul (Columbia), James Williams (Columbia), Jaroslaw Jelinek (Detroit), Timothy Hagaman (Harvard), Dan Sachs (Harvard), Jared Hammond (New York University), Sam Roukas (New York University), Robert Ziechmann (North Carolina), Patrick Ghattas (Notre Dame), Bill Thanhouser (Notre Dame), Mike Momtselidze (Ohio State), Sergey Smirnov (Ohio State), Andrew Bielen (Pennsylvania), Matt Kolasa (Pennsylvania), Franz Boghicev (Penn State), Ian Farr (Penn State), Thomas Abend (Princeton), Benjamin Igoe (Rutgers), Torian Brown (St. John’s), Luther Clement (St. John’s), Teddy Levitt (Stanford)

WOMEN’S FOIL – Cassidy Luitjen (Columbia-Barnard), Kathleen Reckling (Columbia-Barnard), Misha Goldfeder (Harvard), Arielle Pensler (Harvard), Cordelia Link (MIT), Zoe Baumgardner (New York University), May-Lynne Chen-Contino (North Carolina), Jessica Florendo (Northwestern), Samantha Nemecek (Northwestern), Adrienne Nott (Notre Dame), Emilie Prot (Notre Dame), Julia Tichonova (Ohio State), Abigail Emerson (Pennsylvania), Ilana Sinkin (Pennsylvania), Tamara Najm (Penn State), Doris Willette (Penn State), Sara Jew-Lim (Princeton), Jocelyn Svengsouk (Princeton), Monika Golebiewski (St. John’s), Katia Larchanka (St. John’s), Jessica Wacker (Stanford), Melissa Parker (Temple), Jennifer Chun (UC San Diego), Alisa Mendelsohn (Yale)

WOMEN’S EPEE – Elizabeth Enyart (Air Force), Caitlin Kozel (Brandeis), Tess Finkel (Columbia-Barnard), Alexie Rubin (Columbia Barnard), Anne Kercsmar (Duke), Maria Larsson (Harvard), Jasmine McGlade (Harvard), Courtney Krolikoski (North Carolina), Christa French (Northwestern), Kayley French (Northwestern), Kelley Hurley (Notre Dame), Leslie Lampman (Ohio State), Alexandra Obrazcova (Ohio State), Anastasia Ferdman (Penn State), Catherine Szarwark (Penn State), Jasjit Bhinder (Princeton), Erin McGarry (Princeton), Danielle Henderson (Rutgers), Reka Szele (St. John’s), Tanya Novakovska (St. John’s), Brittany Leader(Stanford), Anna Garina (Wayne State), Justyna Konczalska (Wayne State), Rebecca Moss (Yale)

WOMEN’S SABRE – Randy Alevi (Brown), Rachel Allen (Cal State Fullerton), Emily Jacobson (Columbia-Barnard), Daria Schneider (Columbia-Barnard), Alexandra Heiss (Cornell), Ivana Zgaljic (Cornell), Alexa Weingarden (Harvard), Jennifer Sawicki (North Carolina), Mai VanVu (Northwestern), Valerie Providenza (Notre Dame), Ashley Serrette (Notre Dame), Siobhan Byrne (Ohio State), Eileen Grench (Ohio State), Alexis Baran (Pennsylvania), Cassandra Partyka (Pennsylvania), Sophia Hiss (Penn State), Caitlin Thompson (Penn State), Olga Ovtchinnikova (St. John’s), Dagmara Wozniak (St. John’s), Eva Jellison (Stanford), Christine Griffith (Temple), Kristine Jones (Temple), Anna Bartoszewicz (Wayne State), Katarzyna Kuzniak (Wayne State)