Courtney Hurley earned the silver medal in women's epee at the North American Cup

Irish Travel To Columbus For NCAA Midwest regional

March 5, 2009

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame men’s and women’s fencing teams will travel to Columbus, Ohio to take part in the NCAA Midwest Regional this Saturday and Sunday, March 7 and 8. The competition will be held at the Ohio State University, as both Fighting Irish teams attempt to qualify the combined maximum of 12 fencers for the NCAA Championship, which will be held in State College, Pa. on March 22-25.

Each team can qualify up to two men and two women per weapon. Top-five finishers at the Regionals will receive automatic bids in sabre and epee and the top-four finishers in foil will receive automatic bids. In addition to the automatic bids, several at-large bids will also be extended. At-large selection to the NCAA finals is based on pre-regional “power ranking” (40 percent) and Regional placement (60 percent). On Tuesday, March 10, the committee will announce its final decision as to which individuals have been selected to receive at-large bids to the 2009 NCAA Championships.

The competition will feature preliminary pool rounds (if needed) to seed for the 16-fencer double-elimination tournament, with the first eight spots being fenced out. The Notre Dame men and women enter competition as the top-ranked team in the latest United States Fencing Coaches Association (USFCA) poll. Other teams competing at the Regional qualifier include Northwestern, Lawrence, Detroit-Mercy, Wayne State, Cleveland State and Ohio State.

The Irish finished second at last weekend’s Midwest Fencing Conference Championships, which were held at Notre Dame. The Irish finished with 1,290 points, while the Buckeyes of Ohio State claimed their seventh combined conference title in a row as they finished with 1,310 points, edging the Irish by 20 points.

Karol Kostka (Krakow, Poland), Sarah Borrmann (Beaverton, Ore.) and Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) combined to claim three individual titles, as Kostka won the men’s epee title, Borrmann the women’s sabre title and Hurley the women’s epee gold. Other notable finishes by the Irish included Avery Zuck’s (Beaverton, Ore.) second place finish in men’s sabre and Hayley Reese’s (Crestwood, N.J.) run to the title bout in women’s foil. Reese’s only loss of the day came in the championship bout.

On the second day of competition of the MFC Championships, the Irish took titles in men’s sabre and women’s epee. Notre Dame also advanced to the championship bout in the other four categories. Notre Dame rolled to the men’s sabre conference championship on Sunday, losing only one bout in the process. The Irish, who entered as the number one seed, began the day by defeating Cleveland State, 5-0, in the round of 16. Then they downed Wisconsin, 5-0, in the quarterfinals before beating fourth-seeded Northwestern, 5-0, in the semifinals. Notre Dame then knocked off second-seeded Ohio State, 5-1, in the championship bout. The women’s epee squad claimed Notre Dame’s second title of the day with a 5-2 win against Northwestern, having advanced to the Championship with a 5-2 win over Purdue to advance to the quarterfinals, a 5-1 win over Wyane State and a 5-0 victory over Michigan State in the semifinals.

For her efforts at the MFC Championships, Courtney Hurley was named the women’s National Collegiate Fencer of the Week by on Wednesday, March 4. Hurley earned the distinction after a dominating performance at the Midwest Fencing Conference Championships in which she took home the individual women’s epee title and also led the Irish women’s epee team to the team crown.

— ND —