March 5, 2008
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Notre Dame men’s and women’s fencing teams combined to qualify the maximum 12 fencers for the upcoming NCAA Championships, which will take place March 13-16 in Columbus, Ohio. The Fighting Irish were one of four teams to place the full allotment of fencers into the national tournament.
This marks the sixth time that Notre Dame has qualified 12 fencers for the NCAAs, with the others occurring 2000-03 and 2006. The other schools with two competitors per weapon are Ohio State, Columbia-Barnard and St. John’s. Notre Dame tied a program record by sending seven freshmen to the NCAAs.
In the men’s epee, senior Greg Howard and junior Karol Kostka will represent the Fighting Irish. Kostka finished first at last weekend’s Midwest Regional in Detroit, Mich., while Howard was third. Howard copped All-America accolades last season by finishing eighth in his first ever trip to the NCAAs. This will mark Kostka’s third trip to the national meet. He finished 18th in 2006 and 11th in 2007. Howard was 47-10 during the 2008 regular season and Kostka was 46-16.
A pair of freshmen will compete for Notre Dame in the men’s foil. Zach Schirtz and Steve Kubik finished second and third, respectively, at the Midwest Regional. Schirtz posted a 47-11 record this season, while Kubik was 42-9.
Junior Bill Thanhouser and freshman Barron Nydam will represent the Irish in the men’s sabre competition. Nydam placed third at the regional qualifying tournament, while Thanhouser was fifth. This season, Nydam produced a 36-12 record and Thanhouser was 47-19. Thanhouser earned All-America distinction one year ago as he finished sixth during his first NCAA appearance.
On the women’s side, sophomore Kelley Hurley and freshman Ewa Nelip will compete in the epee for Notre Dame. Hurley was the 2007 NCAA runner-up during her freshman campaign. This season, she had a 47-1 record and placed third during the Regional competition. Nelip won the Midwest Fencing Conference title in women’s epee and has posted an overall regular-season mark of 45-6 in addition to finishing fourth at the Regional. She also helped the Irish win the conference epee championship.
Adrienne Nott and Hayley Reese will take to the strip in the women’s foil competition for the Irish. Nott, a junior, was the runner-up at last weekend’s regional qualifier, while the freshman Reese was third. Nott registered a 69-10 mark this season and Reese went 69-12. Nott is a two-time All-American. She placed sixth as a freshman in 2006 and followed that up with a third-place finish last season.
Freshmen Sarah Borrmann and Eileen Hassett will represent Notre Dame in the women’s sabre. Borrmann notched a third-place finish at the Regional and Hassett was fifth. On the season, Borrmann was 73-7 and Hassett had a 67-12 record.
Fencers will compete in a round-robin of 24 fencers in five-touch bouts. After the round-robin, the top four fencers in each event will fence direct elimination 15-touch bouts for first, second, third and fourth place. Absolute ties for the seeding will be broken as follows: for positions one through three, by a coin toss; for position four, by a fence-off. An institution’s 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.
Last season, the Fighting Irish placed fourth at the NCAA Championships in Madison, N.J.. 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.
For more information on the 2008 NCAA Fencing Championships, including a full list of competitors, go to ncaa.com.
— ND —