May 11, 2017
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – A pair of University of Notre Dame fencers were honored for their academic success Thursday, as the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) announced the Academic All-District At-Large Teams.
Senior foilist Lee Kiefer was named the Women’s At-Large Team for District V, while junior sabreur Jonathan Fitzgerald earned the nod for the District V men’s team. Kiefer, a 2015 CoSIDA First Team Academic All-American, earned the second All-District honor of her career, while Fitzgerald was named to the All-District team for the first time.
Kiefer set the standard both athletically and academically during her four years with the Irish. She became the first Notre Dame student-athlete to win four NCAA titles in the same event, and just the third collegiate fencer to accomplish the feat. She joins 18 other collegiate athletes who have won four national titles in the same event. The current No. 1-ranked foilist in the world, Kiefer helped guide the Irish to their ninth NCAA Championship in 2017, was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Fencer of the Year for Foil, claimed a spot on the All-ACC Academic Team, and capped her career with a Byron V. Kanaley Award, which is given to senior monogram athletes who have been most exemplary as students and leaders. She currently owns a 3.65 grade point average and will graduate in later this month with a science pre-professional degree with plans to attend medical school at the University of Kentucky.
Fitzgerald is a three-time All-ACC Academic Team member and is coming off the best season of his career. A Third Team All-American in 2016, Fitzgerald copped Second Team All-America honors this season after finishing eighth in men’s sabre at the NCAA Fencing Championships. He is a three-time NCAA qualifier, was the 2015 ACC Men’s Sabre Champion, the 2016 ACC Men’s Sabre Runner-Up and the 2017 NCAA Midwest Regional Men’s Sabre bronze medalist. He currently owns a 3.42 grade point average with a double major in Arabic and peace studies.
The At-Large teams recognize student-athletes competing in women’s beach volleyball, women’s bowling, women’s crew/rowing, men’s and women’s fencing, women’s field hockey, men’s and women’s golf. men’s and women’s gymnastics, men’s and women’s ice hockey, men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s rifle, men’s and women’s skiing, men’s and women’s swimming, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s volleyball, men’s and women’s water polo and men’s wrestling. Those earning all-district recognition will move onto the national ballot for the CoSIDA Academic All-America Team, where first-, second- and third-team All-America honorees will be selected later this month.
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 and earned her master’s degree from Georgetown University in 2013.