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Irish To Host 2017 NCAA Championships

Sept. 29, 2016

2016-17 Fencing Schedule

By Joanne Norell

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s fencing teams will once again face the best of the best en route to hosting the 2017 NCAA Fencing Championships at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis.

The Irish, who released their 2016-17 schedule Thursday, will follow up their stint hosting last year’s Atlantic Coast Conference Championships by playing host to the biggest event in collegiate fencing, highlighting a schedule that features several elite collegiate and national fencing events.

“It’s not quite like having it here in the Joyce Center, where we can sleep in our own beds and eat in the dining hall, but it’s something we very much look forward to,” head coach Gia Kvaratskhelia said of hosting the NCAA Championships. “Indianapolis is a great city. We know Indiana Sports Corp is unmatched in their ability to host big events — Super Bowls, Final Fours, Olympic Trials — and the venue should be outstanding. Our staff at Notre Dame will ensure that we host an outstanding NCAA Championship.”

Six USA Fencing events pepper the schedule including the season’s opening event. The Irish will kick off the year as several Division I and II fencers compete at the USA Fencing North American Cup event October 7-9 in Detroit. Two more NAC events will follow in November and December, while the Irish will also compete at the Penn Elite Invitational (November 5) and the Penn State Open (November 19).

After one last NAC event in January, the collegiate season will begin in full force with the Irish traveling to New York for the St. John’s Invitational (January 21) and the NYU Invitational (January 22). Notre Dame will then host the annual DeCicco Duals (January 28-29) before once again providing the venue for the Northwestern Duals (February 4-5). The USA Fencing Junior Olympics (February 17-20) will serve as the final warm-up before the 2017 ACC Championships, hosted by Duke (February 25-26).

Once the ACC Championships conclude, the Irish will get set for the NCAA Midwest Regional (March 11) in the final lead-up to the NCAA Championships (March 23-26). The USA Fencing Division I Championships will wrap the season for the Irish.

“To be the best, you have to compete against the best,” Kvaratskhelia said. “We’ll face pretty much everyone this year — Ohio State, Columbia, Penn State, St. John’s, Princeton, Penn, Harvard, Northwestern, Stanford, plus our fellow ACC schools of Duke, North Carolina and Boston College. I think we will have a team that’s capable of succeeding against a tough schedule.”

The Irish finished fifth at last season’s NCAA Championships and added 10 All-Americans to the all-time list. Then-freshmen Axel Kiefer and Sabriana Massialas, both foilists, highlighted the Irish run at the title event, both taking third place in their respective events.

The Irish men and women each captured their second straight ACC Championship, with five Irish capturing individual titles. On the women’s side, Massialas snagged the foil crown while senior Catherine Lee picked up the epee title. For the men. Kiefer earned the foil championship and was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Fencer, while Jonah Shainberg (sabre) and Dylan French (epee) also claimed their weapon titles.

— ND —

Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2014 and coordinates communications efforts for the Notre Dame women’s soccer, men’s tennis, women’s tennis and fencing programs. Norell is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communication, and earned her master’s degree in sports industry management from Georgetown University in 2013.