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Keys To The Meet: NCAA Midwest Regional Championships

March 10, 2017

By Joanne Norell

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s fencing teams will look to qualify their top fencers for NCAA Championships consideration as the first rounds of competition get underway this Saturday at the NCAA Midwest Regional Fencing Championships at Wayne State University.

WHAT: NCAA Midwest Regional Fencing Championships
WHERE: Matthaei Center | Detroit, Michigan
WHEN: March 11, 2016 | Competition begins at 9 a.m.
RESULTS: Live Scoring

NCAA Midwest Regional Overview

Both Irish fencing squads will be looking to qualify the maximum 12 fencers to the 2017 NCAA Championships, which will be hosted by the University of Notre Dame and Indiana Sports Corp in Indianapolis later this month.

Placement at the NCAA regional competition accounts for 60 percent of a participant’s selection into the Championships with Fencer’s Seeding Factor (FSF) accounting for the other 40 percent. The regional champion will automatically be considered for allocation for recommendation to participate in the championships and, if a school has more than two qualifiers, it will be an institutional decision as to who will be recommended.

The regional competition consists of one round of pool play in each weapon, with total wins determining placement. Ties will be broken first by indicator, then by touches scored. Midwest region fencers can qualify up to five competitors in men’s foil, women’s foil and women’s epee, and four competitors in men’s epee, men’s sabre and women’s sabre. The Irish will send a total of nine women and nine men to compete in Detroit on Saturday.

Irish In The Postseason

Last season, the Irish qualified the maximum number of participants to the NCAA Championships after the regional, going on to finish fifth (combined title). Ten of Notre Dame’s participants came away with All-America honors, including first-teamers Sabrina Massialas (women’s foil) and Axel Kiefer (men’s foil). Since the program’s inception, the Irish have claimed eight team national championships (three men’s, one women’s and four combined), 15 individual men’s championships and 17 individual women’s championships.

At last season’s regional, Notre Dame fencers claimed three titles: Sabrina Massialas in women’s foil, Catherine Lee (`16) in women’s epee and Axel Kiefer in men’s foil.

Schedule of Events

(All Times Eastern)
Saturday, March 11
9 a.m. — Women’s Epee, Foil, Sabre
12:30 p.m. — Men’s Epee, Foil, Sabre

Preliminary Seeding

Women’s Epee
No. 2 Amanda Sirico
No. 3 Madeline Antekeier
Women’s Foil
No. 1 Lee Kiefer
No. 4 Sabrina Massialas
Women’s Sabre
No. 1 Francesca Russo
No. 2 Tara Hassett
No. 5 Claudia Kulmacz
No. 12 Jamie Norville

Men’s Epee
No. 3 Ariel Simmons
No. 4 Dylan French
Men’s Foil
No. 1 Axel Kiefer
No. 3 Kristjan Archer
No. 5 Virgile Collineau
Men’s Sabre
No. 5 Jonah Shainberg
No. 6 Jonathan Fitzgerald
No. 7 Arsenii Panteleev
No. 8 Ian Jones

Last Time Out: ACC Championships

The Irish repeated as Atlantic Coast Conference champions in both men’s and women’s categories, with both teams earning their third straight conference titles Feb. 24-25 at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina. Notre Dame fencers also claimed five individual weapons titles (three women’s and two men’s).

For the first time, the Irish women swept the individual championships. Junior Francesca Russo claimed the program’s first ACC women’s sabre title, defeating Duke’s Lindsay Sapienza 15-7 in the championship bout. Sophomore Amanda Sirico snared her first conference title in women’s epee with a win over Duke’s Rita Somogyi. Senior Lee Kiefer and sophomore Sabrina Massialas squared off for the women’s foil title, with Massialas claiming her second straight conference crown and first career win over Kiefer, a three-time national champion and two-time Olympian. Massialas was also named the tournament’s Most Valuable Fencer for the second straight year.

On the men’s side, the championship bouts in foil and epee pitted Irish fencers against each other, ensuring gold medals for Notre Dame. In foil, senior Kristjan Archer defeated sophomore and defending conference champion Axel Kiefer for his first ACC title. A similar story unfolded in epee as freshman Ariel Simmons upended sophomore and reigning ACC champ Dylan French. Simmons was named the men’s tournament MVP. In sabre, junior Jonah Shainberg took home silver, having reached the championship for the third consecutive year.

Rankings Summary

The second Coaches Poll was released on Feb. 10, with the Irish women holding steady at No. 3 and the men’s staying put at No. 4.

Women’s Rankings
1. Princeton
2. Columbia
3. Notre Dame
4. Penn
5. Penn State
6. Ohio State
7. Temple
8. Northwestern
9. Harvard
10. Duke

Men’s Rankings
1. Ohio State
2. Columbia
3. Penn State
4. Notre Dame
5. Penn
6. Princeton
7. St. John’s
8. Harvard
9. Duke
10. NYU

To keep up with Irish fencing, visit, follow @NDFencing on Twitter and like Notre Dame Fencing on Facebook.


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.