March 10, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame fencing team qualified the maximum 12 fencers for the upcoming NCAA Championship it was announced by the NCAA. After a stellar regular season in which the team combined for only two losses in the regular season and followed up with a strong showing at the NCAA Midwest Regional, including nine medalist finishes and two individual titles, the Irish earned the right to send two fencers per weapon to the Championship event, which will be held in State College, Pa. on March 19-22.
2009 marks the seventh time the Irish have qualified 12 fencers for NCAAs. Notre Dame also qualified 12 fencers from 2000-03 as well as in the 2006 and 2008 Championship. The Buckeyes of Ohio State also qualified 12 fencers for championship play, as did the Nittany Lions of Penn State.
Representing Notre Dame at the NCAA Championship event in epee are sophomore Ewa Nelip (Katowice, Poland) and freshman Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) on the women’s side and senior Karol Kostka (Krakow, Poland) and sophomore Greg Schoolcraft (San Jose, Calif.) on the men’s side. It marks Nelip’s second trip to the NCAA Championships, having achieved All-American status last season as a third-place finisher. It marks Kostka’s fourth appearance in the NCAAs and he achieved All-American status in 2007 and 2008. Schoolcraft will be making his first appearance at the NCAAs, while Courtney Hurley is one of three Notre Dame freshmen heading to the NCAAs.
In foil, the Irish are sending sophomore Hayley Reese (Crestwood, Ky.), senior Adrienne Nott (Pittsford, N.Y.) as well as freshmen Enzo Castellani (Keller, Texas) and Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.). Reese, a 2008 third-team All-American, will be making her second consecutive trip to the NCAAs, while Nott is looking to become a rare four-time All-American. 2009 also marks the second consecutive year in which the Irish have sent a freshman duo to NCAAs in men’s foil, as last season Notre Dame’s Zach Schirtz (Rochester, N.Y.) and Steve Kubik (San Antonio, Texas) qualified for the NCAAs.
The Irish are sending four sophomores to the championships in sabre. On the women’s side Sarah Borrmann (Beaverton, Ore.) and Eileen Hassett (Beaverton, Ore.) will both make their second straight appearances in the NCAA Championship, giving Borrmann a chance to defend her 2008 title, while Hassett will try and build on her second team All-American showing in 2008. On the men’s side, Barron Nydam (Rancho Sante Fe, Calif.) and Avery Zuck (Beaverton, Ore.) will be Notre Dame’s sabre entrants. Nydam achieved second team All-American honors with a sixth-place finish in 2008, while Zuck will be making his first NCAA Championship appearance.
The Irish will be seeking their eighth NCAA Championship in program history, and their first since 2005. Last season, Notre Dame finished second to rival Ohio State. Notre Dame has won the combined national championship in 1994, 2003 and 2005. The Fighting Irish claimed the men’s title in 1977, 1978 and 1986. The Notre Dame women captured the NCAA crown in 1987.
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