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Irish Surge Into First Place On Day One At NCAA Championship

March 23, 2017

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INDIANAPOLIS — The University of Notre Dame fencing team enjoyed a strong first-day performance in the NCAA Championships at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis on Thursday. With the first three rounds of men’s foil, epee and sabre completed, the Irish stand in first place entering Friday’s final two rounds, semifinals and finals.

Notre Dame amassed 57 points on Thursday, claiming 22 wins in sabre, 18 in foil and 17 in epee. The Irish are ahead of Ohio State (56), Columbia (51), Harvard (49) and Princeton (49) in the team standings.

Notre Dame’s final team score after Friday’s finals will be combined with the women’s team scores compiled later this weekend to determine the team national champion.

How It Happened

Foil was up first on the competition strips Thursday morning with senior Kristjan Archer and sophomore Axel Kiefer providing a strong start for the Fighting Irish.

Archer ended up fourth on the foil leaderboard after three rounds with 10 victories, but just one victory behind Stanford’s Alexander Massialas, Ohio State’s Maximilien Chastanet and Columbia’s Nolen Scruggs – all who finished the day with 11 wins.

Kiefer won eight of his 15 foil bouts and sits in 12th place entering the final two preliminary rounds on Friday.

Freshman Ariel Simmons led the way in epee, finishing eighth with nine victories in 15 bouts. Sophomore Dylan French was close behind his teammate, winning eight of his 15 bouts to finish the day in 12th place.

The final rotation of the day was in sabre and the Irish junior duo of Jonah Shainberg and Jonathan Fitzgerald ended the day on a high note, combining for 22 victories against just eight losses.

Shainberg (12-3) will be second entering the final two rotations Friday morning, while Fitzgerald’s 10-5 record ended up in seventh place.

From Coach Gia Kvarataskhelia

On day one at the NCAA Championship…
“It is the first quarter and there is a lot more to go. The kids are fighting. We need to stay focused, stay poised and see what tomorrow will bring.”

On the performance of the sabre duo today…

“It is a combination of trusting themselves and their coaching. They trusted their knowledge and their training. Everything came together today and I am very impressed and proud of all coaches and competitors.”

On the outlook for Friday…

“Regroup, relax and come out swinging tomorrow. That is all we can ask for.”


National Collegiate Fencing Championships
March 23-26, 2016
Indiana Farmers Coliseum
Men’s Competition (March 23-24)
Foil (Rounds 1-3)

  1. Kristjan Archer (10-5)
  2. Axel Kiefer (8-7)

Epee (Rounds 1-3)

  1. Ariel Simmons (9-6)
  2. Dylan French (8-7)

Sabre (Rounds 1-3)

  1. Jonah Shainberg (12-3)
  2. Jonathan Fitzgerald (10-5)

Team Standings

  1. Notre Dame, 57
  2. Ohio State, 56
  3. Columbia, 51
  4. Harvard, 49
  5. Harvard, 49

Up Next

The men’s competition will conclude on Friday at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Action will start at 9 a.m. with the fourth and fifth rounds of pool competition, followed by the semifinals and finals of each weapon beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET. The semifinal and championship bouts will be broadcast on ESPN3 or the WatchESPN app.