March 13, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – For the fifth consecutive season, the University of Notre Dame fencing team has qualified the maximum 12 fencers for the NCAA Championship, it was announced by the NCAA Fencing Committee on Tuesday. The Championship will be hosted by Ohio State University at the French Field House and St. John Arena, March 22-25, in Columbus, Ohio.
The NCAA Championship includes individual events in each of the six weapons (men’s foil, men’s epee, men’s sabre, women’s foil, women’s epee, women’s sabre). Each participating school can qualify a maximum of two fencers to compete in each of the six weapon classes.
Notre Dame represents one of five schools competing to have qualified the maximum allotment, joining the likes of top-ranked Ohio State, Harvard, Princeton and St. John’s. Penn State, last year’s runner-up to the Irish, placed 11 in the Championship, while Pennsylvania qualified 10.
The Irish lost eight NCAA participants from last year’s team – Ariel DeSmet, Avery Zuck, Barron Nydam, Brent Kelly, Hayley Reese, Eileen Hassett, Courtney Hurley, Ewa Nelip – but filled each of those voids going into the 2012 Championship.
Heading to Columbus on the men’s side are James Kaull and Michael Rossi in epee, Enzo Castellani and Reggie Bentley in foil and Jason Choy and Kevin Hassett in sabre. On the women’s side, the Irish send Ashley Severson and Nicole Ameli in epee, Madison Zeiss and Grace Hartman in foil and Lian Osier and Abigail Nichols in sabre.
Kaull and Castellani look to provide leadership to a relatively inexperienced Irish unit as they are making their third individual appearances at the NCAAs. Kaull, now a junior, has appeared each of his first three seasons with the Irish, while Castellani, now a senior, returns for his third appearance after qualifying both his freshman and sophomore years. Osier and Bentley represent the only other Irish fencers to have appeared at the NCAA Championship before, both qualifying last season. The eight remaining fencers will be making their first appearances.