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Kiefer Claims Grand Prix Gold Over Strong Weekend For Irish

Dec. 6, 2016

By Joanne Norell

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – December is a slow month in the world of collegiate fencing, but the University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s fencing teams are keeping their skills in top shape with impressive performances on the national and international stage.

Posting the top performance of the weekend was Irish senior foilist Lee Kiefer, who struck gold at the first International Fencing Federation (FIE) Grand Prix of the season in Turin, Italy. Irish representatives also picked up top honors at the December North American Cup in Richmond, Virginia.

Kiefer claimed her first career victory in an FIE Grand Prix – a notch above the World Cup events on the international fencing stage – with a 15-8 win over fellow American Nicole Ross. Grand Prix events are worth 1.5 times more points than at normal World Cup events. Kiefer is currently ranked No. 2 in the world by the FIE.

Sophomore Sabrina Massialas also competed at the Turin Grand Prix, finishing 26th. Madison Zeiss (’15) finished 67th and Adi Nott (’09) came in 74th.

Former and current Irish fencers also picked up four medals at the December NAC, held at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. Three-time Olympic epeeist Kelley Hurley (’10) headlined the hardware winners, snagging gold in the Division I Women’s Epee event. Sophomore Amanda Sirico tied for bronze in the event, while Courtney Hurley (’12) finished ninth and freshman Julia Barry came in 69th.

Also on the women’s side, junior sabreuse Francesca Russo claimed bronze in Division I Women’s Sabre, while senior Claudia Kulmacz (70th) also competed.

Pacing the men’s finishers was junior sabreur Jonah Shainberg, who snared silver in Division I Men’s Sabre. Classmate Johnathan Fitzgerald took sixth in the same event.

In Division I Men’s Epee, freshman Zachary Zeller finished 12th to lead Irish epeeists. Sophomore Dylan French (22nd), freshman Ariel Simmons (29th), alumnus James Kaull (’13) and sophomore Darius Zacharakis (63rd) also competed.

The Irish will return to the strip for their next NCAA competition on January 21, 2017, at the St. John’s Invitational in Queens, New York. They will compete at the NYU Invitational the next day in Manhattan.

FIE Grand Prix (Women’s Foil)
Turin, Italy
December 2-4, 2016
1. Lee Kiefer
26. Sabrina Massialas
67. Madison Zeiss (’15)
74. Adi Nott (’09)

December North American Cup
Richmond, Virginia
Greater Richmond Convention Center
December 2-5, 2016
Division I Men’s Sabre
2. Jonah Shainberg
6. Johnathan Fitzgerald

Division I Men’s Epee
12. Zachary Zeller
22. Dylan French
29. Ariel Simmons
40. James Kaull (’13)
63. Darius Zacharakis

Division I Women’s Sabre
T-3. Francesca Russo
70. Claudia Kulmacz

Division I Women’s Epee
1. Kelley Hurley (’10)
T-3. Amanda Sirico
9. Courtney Hurley (’12)
69. Julia Barry

— 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.