NOTRE DAME, Ind. — For the sixth straight year, the University of Notre Dame fencing program will send the maximum allotted 12 fencers to the NCAA Championships, one of just three programs that will compete with 12 participants March 19-22 at the TCF Center in downtown Detroit. The Irish are the only team to send 12 fencers to the NCAA Championships in each of the last six seasons.
The No. 3 Irish will send a roster of both youth and experience as the women qualified junior Stefani Deschner and senior Morgan Partridge in foil, sophomore Miriam Grady and graduate student Amanda Sirico in epee and sophomore Kara Linder and senior Regina O’Brien in sabre. The men’s squad will contribute freshman Marcello Olivares and sophomore Andrew Machovec in foil, freshmen Harrison Kimatian and Valentin Matveev in epee and sophomores Alessandro Contreras and Jared Smith in sabre.
Notre Dame will join Ohio State and Princeton as the only programs to reach the maximum allotment for NCAA qualification. Columbia qualified 11 and St. John’s qualified 10 fencers.
The Irish return two 2019 All-Americans to the competition this season — first-teamer Sirico and second-teamer Linder. Sirico’s runner-up showing at last year’s national championships was the best finish of her career as she became a First-Team All-American for the third time. Linder finished eighth as a freshman in her first ever NCAA Championships appearance to earn Second-Team All-America honors. Miriam Grady and Alessandro Contreras also competed at last year’s NCAA Championships, each finishing 15th in the competition, while the rest of the Irish squad will be making their NCAA debuts in Detroit.
The Irish qualifiers have already done a great deal of damage in the postseason as they have combined for five individual ACC titles — one by Deschner (women’s foil), one by Linder (women’s sabre), one by Grady (women’s epee), one by Machovec (men’s foil) and one by Contreras (men’s sabre) — and four Midwest Regional titles — one by Partridge (women’s foil), one by Linder, one by Grady and one by Olivares (men’s foil). Miriam Grady and Marcello Olivares were also named the Most Valuable Fencers of the ACC Championships.
The National Collegiate Men’s and Women’s Fencing Championships include individual events in each of the six weapons, and fencers will compete in a round-robin format of five-touch bouts. After the round-robin, the top-four finishers in each weapon will fence in semifinal 15-touch bouts, with the winners fencing to determine first and second places, and the non-advancing fencers being awarded a tie for third place.
Place finish in the championships will be based on points earned by each individual. A team will be awarded one point for each victory by its student-athletes for the duration of the championships.