March 17, 1999

Irish Preview: Notre Dame heads to Waltham, Mass., to compete at Brandeis University in the NCAA championships March 18-21. For the third consecutive year the Irish have qualified the maximum 10 fencers for competition at the championships. Penn State, the four-time defending NCAA champions, is the only other school that qualified 10 fencers. Princeton and Stanford will send nine fencers each, with Penn and St. John’s qualifying eight fencers each. The Irish women that qualified have earned All-American honors in the past. The foilists are three time All-Americans Sara Walsh (Mishawaka, Ind.) and Myriah Brown (Mishawaka, Ind.). The women’s epeeists representing the Irish are 1997 NCAA women’s epee champion Magda Krol (Vancouver, B.C.) and 1998 NCAA fourth-place finisher Nicole Mustilli (South Orange, N.J.). The men’s foil squad will send senior captain Stephane Auriol (Elkhart, Ind.) and junior Charles Hayes (South Bend, Ind.). The Irish will send freshman Brian Casas (Mishawaka, Ind.) and junior James Gaither (Piedmont, Calif.) in epee. The sabremen representing Notre Dame will be the defending NCAA sabre champion Luke LaValle (New York, N.Y.) and freshman Gabor Szelle (Budapest, Hungary).

Irish Review: The Notre Dame fencers claimed three individual titles at the Midwest regional championships in Cleveland, Ohio, at Cleveland State on March 7. Irish junior James Gaither won the men’s epee crown, freshman Gabor Szelle won the sabre title and senior women’s epeeist Nicole Mustilli won the championship in her weapon. The top finisher for the Irish in men’s foil was Charles Hayes. Hayes placed second after losing a fence off to Wayne State’s David Huyhn. The top women’s foilist for the Irish was Sara Walsh. Walsh, who won the Midwest regional championship in 1996, finished fourth.

Head Coach Yves Auriol: Yves Auriol is in his fourth season as head coach of both the men’s and women’s team. Auriol has achieved great success in his first three seasons, guiding the Irish to three second-place finishes at the NCAA championships. Coming into the 1999 season, Auriol had a career record of 376-20 (.949). Auriol notched his 400th career-coaching win on February 5, when the Irish men defeated Rutgers 20-7 at the Duke Invitational. With the women notching a 21-11 win against Penn on January 23, at the Penn State Meet, Auriol gained his 300th women’s coaching victory. The coach earned his 100th career men’s coaching victory on February 20, as his squad defeated Northwestern 21-6 in the last match of the regular season.

NCAA Championship Notes: Notre Dame, NCAA champions in 1994, is the last team other than Penn State to win the title … the last Irish title was won in Waltham, Mass., the same site of this year’s NCAA championship … the Irish have finished second to the Nittany Lions in each of the last three years … team finishes in the NCAA championships are based on points earned by each individual … a team will be awarded one point for each victory for the duration of the tournament, excluding the medal round … in 1998 Penn State edged the Irish 149-147 … six of the 10 Irish fencers competing at the championships have previous NCAA championship experience … of the six fencers, five have earned All-America honors … in Magda Krol and Luke LaValle the Irish return two former NCAA individual champions … in her first three NCAA appearances Sara Walsh has compiled a 61-8 (.884) record, the highest NCAA championship win total in Notre Dame women’s fencing history.

National Rankings

Men 1.  Penn State 2.  Notre Dame 3.  Stanford 4.  Princeton 5.  Columbia 6.  Pennsylvania 7.  Yale 8.  St. John's 9.  Duke10.  NYU
Women 1. Penn State 2. Stanford 3. Notre Dame 4. Princeton 5. Columbia 6. Yale 7. Temple 8. Northwestern 9. Ohio State10. Harvard