Sophomore Francesca Russo will return to the strip for the Irish at the Penn Elite Invitational for her first collegiate bouts since claiming the 2015 NCAA Women's Sabre Championship.

Keys To The Meet: Penn Elite Invitational

Nov. 20, 2015

By Joanne Norell

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame fencing team will kick off the collegiate fencing season Saturday when the Irish head to the Penn Elite Invitational to face some of the nation’s best squads.

Below is all you need to know before the Irish get set to bout in Philadelphia:

WHAT: Penn Elite Invitational
WHO: Notre Dame vs. NJIT, Ohio State, Air Force (M), Northwestern (W), Penn, Princeton
WHERE: Coach Dave Micahnik Fencing Center (Hutchinson Gymnasium) – Philadelphia, Pa.
WHEN: November 21, 2015

Penn Elite Invitational Lowdown
The Penn Elite Invitational will feature several of the nation’s elite fencing squads, who will fence in head-to-head meets throughout the day. Both Irish men and women will face NJIT, Ohio State, Penn and Princeton, while the men will also face Air Force and the women will fence Northwestern.

Penn Elite Invitational Schedule
Below is the day’s schedule for the Irish at the Penn Elite Invitational (All Times EST)
9 a.m. – NJIT
10:30 a.m. – Ohio State
12:30 p.m. – Air Force (M); Northwestern (W)
2 p.m. – Penn
3:30 p.m. – Princeton

Who To Watch For
Whereas the Penn State Open two weeks ago served as a warm-up for collegiate play, with many of Notre Dame’s top fencers resting, the Penn Elite Invitational will feature all of the top Irish talent, including the collegiate debuts for freshmen Madeline Antekeier in women’s epee, Axel Kiefer in men’s foil and Sabrina Massialas in women’s foil. Reigning women’s sabre national champion Francesca Russo will also be making her first collegiate appearance this season, as will men’s sabre fencer Jonah Shainberg.

Last Time Out: Penn State Open
The Irish picked up a handful of medals two weeks ago at the Penn State Open, an unoffical start to the NCAA season. Junior Kristjan Archer claimed the gold medal in men’s foil and was joined on the podium by sophomore Virgile Collineau (silver) and freshman Michael Antipas (bronze-tied). Senior Garrett McGrath added to the medal haul, picking up gold in men’s epee while, on the women’s side, senior Nicole McKee snagged gold in women’s foil.

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


Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant 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 and earned her master’s degree from Georgetown University in 2013.