March 8, 2003
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Notre Dame men’s and women’s fencing teams took their customary final step in preparation for contending for the NCAA title, with the Irish clinching 11 of a maximum NCAA tournament spots in Saturday’s Midwest Regional competition at Ohio State. Junior women’s sabre Maggie Jordan also has a strong chance to complete Notre Dame’s 12-fencer contingent as an at-large entrant, with the NCAA bids officially to be announced on March 13 (the four-day NCAAs will be held March 20-23 at Air Force).
The NCAA selections are based on two primary criteria: regional seeding (40%) and regional finish (60%), with Jordan entering Saturday as the fourth seed before finishing fifth (the region is allocated only four women’s sabre entrants, forcing Jordan into the national at-large pool).
The day’s most noteworthy results came in women’s epee, with Notre Dame senior and sixth-seeded Meagan Call winning a rare three-way fence-off with Irish junior Kerry Walton (the 2002 NCAA champion) and Wayne State’s Anna Vinnikov. Call’s classmate, three-time All-American Anna Carnick, entered as the fourth seed but finished seventh (5-6) to miss the NCAAs for the first time in her career (each school can have a maximum of two fencers per weapon in the NCAAs).
The Notre Dame men clinched all six NCAA spots, with epeeists Jan Viviani and Michal Sobieraj finishing 1-2 (Sobieraj was the top seed) while Irish foilists Derek Snyder, Forest Walton and Ozren Debic finished 1-2-3 (top-seeded Debic and second-seeded Snyder likely will receive the NCAA spots). Gabor Szelle (third seed) and second-seeded Matt Fabricant finished second and fifth, respectively, to secure NCAA spots.
Sophomore women’s foilists Alicja Kryczalo and Andrea Ament – the respective 2002 NCAA champion and runner-up – finished first and third to lock up their return trips to the NCAAs while junior Destanie Milo (Knox, Ind.) placed fourth to clinch a spot in the women’s sabre field.
Here’s a closer look at the Regional results:
Men’s Epee (4 NCAA Spots) – Viviani went 11-0 to win the Regional title, after finishing second behind former teammate Brian Casas in 2001 and behind Sobieraj in ’02, while avenging his loss to Wayne State’s Wojciech Dudek in last week’s Midwest Fencing Conference title bout (12-11) … Sobieraj dropped bouts on Saturday vs. Viviani and OSU’s Brian Gross (5-3) … the region’s other two NCAA spots likely will be filled by OSU’s Spencer Jones (4th seed, placed 3rd) and either Gross (3rd seed, finished 5th) or Dudek (5th seed, 4th-place finisher) … ND junior North Carey placed 6th (5-6).
Women’s Epee (5 NCAA Spots) – Call, Walton and Vinnikov each went 9-2 to force the fenceoff … Call then secured her NCAA spot with wins over Walton (5-1) and Vinnikov (5-3), with second-seeded Walton besting Vinnikov for second place (5-2) … Vinnikov also likely surged to an NCAA spot (she was the No. 7 seed), with one of the remaining spots likely to be filled by top seed Alexandra Shklar of OSU (she placed 5th) while OSU’s Sherice Gearhart (5th seed, placed 4th) and Northwestern’s Shannon Sullivan (3rd seed, placed 6th) are in the running for the last spot … Call’s losses came vs. Shklar and NU’s Kelsey Nencheck (both 5-4) while Walton dropped round-robin bouts to Call and Vinnikov … Call avenged her 15-6 loss to Vinnikov in the MFC semifinals (Vinnikov also beat Call, 5-4, at the ND Duals) while Walton had lost the MFC title bout to Vinnikov (15-10) … Call had placed 4th, 4th and 6th in the previous three Regionals and went on to post All-America finishes at the 2000 (12th) and ’01 (5th) NCAAs.
Men’s Foil (4 NCAA Spots) – Snyder (10-1), who placed 3rd at the 2002 Regional, suffered his only round-robin loss vs. OSU’s Nathan Weir … Debic had bested Snyder in last week’s MFC final (15-3) but failed to win his fourth consecutive Regional title (after winning a 4th straight MFC) … Debic and Walton both went 9-2 in the round-robin, with Debic beating Walton and losing to Weir … the region’s other two NCAA spots likely will go to OSU’s Matt Carbone (3rd seed, finished 5tht) and Weir (6th seed, placed 4th).
Women’s Foil (5 NCAA Spots) – Kryczalo (10-1) lost a 5-4 bout to Ament in the round-robin before beating WSU’s Inga Wallrabenstein in a fence-off (5-0) to repeat as the Regional champ … Ament (9-2) improved on her No. 5 seed, with her only loses coming vs. 2nd-seeded Wallrabenstein and OSU’s Hannah Thompson (3rd seed, placed 4th) … the region’s other NCAA spot likely will go to OSU’s Metta Thompson (4th seed, placed 5th) … ND freshman Colleen Walsh placed 8th … Ament placed 3rd at the 2002 Regional.
Men’s Sabre (5 NCAA Spots) – OSU freshman Adam Crompton – brother of former ND All-American Andre Crompton – matched his seed by winning the Regional (11-0), with Szelle (9-2) edging OSU’s Jason Rogers (4th seed) on indicators for 2nd place … OSU’s Kietzelin Siebert (7th seed) placed 4th, followed by the 2nd-seeded Fabricant (7-4) … Szelle’s previous Regionals included a first-place finish in 1999 and runner in 2000 (after a fence-off) … Fabricant also placed 5th at the 2001 and ’02 Regionals … ND junior Brian Dosal placed 8th.
Women’s Sabre (4 NCAA Spots) – OSU’s Louis Bond-Williams matched her seed in winning the Regional title, followed by OSU’s Marquerite Plekhanov (3rd seed), NU’s EmilyPasternak (5th seed) and 2nd-seeded Milo (8-3) … Milo’s 5-4 win over Plekhanov averted a fence-off for the title … Milo placed 3rd at the 2001 Regional and was the ’01 runner-up … ND junior Danielle Davis placed 10th.