Ariel DeSmet logged the highest finish of any Irish combatant in Virginia Beach, with a fifth place finish in men's foil.

Irish Start Out Strong In First Meet Of The Season

Jan. 18, 2014

Virginia Beach, Va. — Results are in from the first two days of the January North American Cup competition, and University of Notre Dame fencers pepper the top 30 spots across multiple weapons classes.

Competition began Friday morning with Junior Women’s Epee and Div. I Men’s Foil. The Irish slotted five foilists in the men’s competition, and three of the five finished in 30th place or better, led by senior Ariel DeSmet with his fifth place standing. Following DeSmet was freshman Hazem Khazbek, in 24th place, and Nick Kubik finished in 29th place.

DeSmet was undefeated in pool play, and entered direct elimination with the No. 4 seed. He scored a pair of 15-4 wins to advance into the round of 32, and then out-touched Hans Kaiser 15-6 to advance into the round of 16.

DeSmet again was on the winning side of a 15-6 score in his bout with Jason Chang, but could not keep his momentum and lost to Michele Caporizzi, 15-10 in the semifinals.

Khazbek entered the direct elimination portion of the competition seeded 30th; he beat Ian Nielsen 15-9 and was impressive against David Hadler before submitting to Nolen Scruggs, 15-6.

Junior Alan Markow finished pool play with a 2-4 record, good for 136th place. John Crumpler also had a 5-4 win in pool play versus Alexandre Amice, before finishing the day tied for 151st place.

Junior Men’s Sabre also got underway Friday. Competing for Notre Dame, sophomore John Hallsten finished just shy of the top 12 in 13th place. Hallsten had earned the No. 18 seed heading into direct elimination after posting a 5-1 record in pool play.

After his opponent was excluded from the competition, enabling Hallsten to advance into the round of 32, he beat Marc Mendoza 15-12. Hallsten then out-touched Alex Lam 15-11, but could not upset Benjamin Natanzon as he surrendered a 15-9 score.

Freshman Ian Dwyer also competed for the Irish, earning a share of 129th place in the standings.

Saturday saw the Div I Women’s Sabre and Men’s Epee competitions kick off in the morning, with the Junior Women’s Foil and Senior Team Men’s Sabre competitions starting in the early afternoon hours.

In women’s sabre, sophomore Johanna Thill finished in 53rd place and freshman Allison Barry concluded the competition in 79th place. Thill finished pool play 3-3 and bested Barry 15-13 in the round of 128 before being out touched 15-6 against Faizah Muhammad.

The Irish men’s epee squad boasted four current and one alum combatant in perhaps the largest field of any event in the competition, as sophomore Garrett McGrath was joined by a trio of talented freshman and recent Notre Dame graduate James Kaull. McGrath finished in 31st place, followed by Conrad Sutter in 32nd. Kaull followed his Irish cohorts in 34th place, while Mitchell Revich (118th place) and Arthur Le Meur (208th place) rounded out the group.

McGrath finished pool play 3-2, and entered direct elimination with the No. 98 seed. Sutter, competing in a pool of seven, earned a 3-3 mark and scored the No. 119 seed. Kaull was undefeated in the pools with a perfect 6-0 record and the No. 4 seed.

Kaull showed off his expertise by besting Connor Ghazaleh 11-10, but was upset by Adam Rodney 15-9 in the round of 64. McGrath went on a winning streak, earning scores of 9-8, 15-5 and 15-4 to advance into the repechage round of 32. Sutter likewise won three bouts to advance into the round of 32.

Both McGrath and Sutter struggled in repechage competition, as McGrath first lost to Adam Maczik, 15-5, before being eliminated by Benjamin Bratton 15-6. Sutter, for his part, was narrowly out-touched by Benji Ungar, 15-14, before succumbing to Yeisser Ramirez 15-10.

Notre Dame did not have any combatants in the women’s foil or Senior Team Men’s Sabre competition. Check back frequently to for complete results.