Senior epeeist Michal Sobieraj leads the Irish into the first day of the NCAAs.

Men Take To The Strips First In Day One At NCAAs (corrected matchups)

March 17, 2005

HOUSTON, Texas –

** Note that the NCAA was late in announcing these first-day matchups on Thursday morning and then many of the pairings that had been announced were corrected, thus some of the earlier data on was incorrect (the corrected day-1 matchups now are listed below).

NOTRE DAME FENCING – NCAA DAY ONE NOTES Thursday, March 17, 2005 … Houston, Texas (George Brown Convention Center)

Notre Dame’s quest to reclaim the NCAA combined fencing championship begins today at the George Brown Convention Center, in Houston, Texas. The NCAAs once again will adhere to the familiar four-day format, with the men’s bouts slated for Thursday and Friday (March 17-18) while the women will fence on the weekend.

Perennial contender St. John’s qualified the maximum 12 fencers (two per weapon) for the 2005 NCAAs while Notre Dame, Penn State and Ohio State each qualified 11 … the Irish have five men competing today, two in epee and sabre and one in foil, with sophomore Frank Bontempo an alternate for the men’s foil field … recent history has shown that an 11-fencer squad can contend for the NCAA title, including the ’03 NCAAs that saw Notre Dame’s 12-fencer squad edge an 11-fencer Penn State unit by just three total bouts (182-179) … Notre Dame was runner-up to Penn State every year from 1996-2000 before finishing third in ’01 and ’02 (plus ’04), with the ’03 championship representing ND’s first national title since 1994 … Ohio State also qualified 12 fencers in 2003 but finished fourth, behind ND, PSU and St. John’s (which had just 10 fencers at the ’03 NCAAs) … the ’04 NCAAs saw Ohio State win the title, followed by PSU and ND … the previous four NCAAs have featured four different champions (SJU in ’01, PSU in ’02, ND in ’03, OSU in ’04).

The Notre Dame men own a combined record of 46-34 vs. their Thursday opponents (in previous college bouts). Many of the key foil bouts will be contested on Friday, as freshman foilist Jakub Jedrkowiak faces fencers from Ohio State and St. John’s (he is 7-7 overall vs. his day-1 opponents). The ND epeeists (22-14 vs. Thursday’s foes) also have some key competition on day-1, vs. Penn State, St. John’s and Air Force. The Irish sabre fencers face tough tests vs. St. John’s and Columbia on Thursday (the ND sabres are a combined 17-13 in their college career vs. the day-1 foes).

The 144-fencer field includes 24 men’s and 24 women’s fencers at each of three weapons (foil, epee, sabre) … fencers will compete against the other 23 competitors in their respective weapons, with teams earning one point for each round-robin victory posted by a fencer from that team … the top four round-robin finishers in each weapon then will fence for the respective individual titles at the end of Friday (men) and Sunday’s (women’s) round-robin competition (those results do not factor into the team scores) … the top 12 finishers in each weapon receive All-America honors.

Some notes on the Thursday matchups follow below … check back to throughout the NCAAs for complete coverage of ND’s quest for its seventh NCAA title, including a look at the ND program’s history of fencers from Texas and a list of fencing alums currently living in the lone star state (many of whom will be in attendance at the ’05 NCAAs).

SPORTS HOTLINE UPDATES – The Notre Dame sports hotline will provide regular on-site updates from all four days of the NCAAs, with the hotline to be updated several times each day … to access the hotline, call (574) 631-3000, then select option “8” (for tennis and fencing ) followed by option “3” for fencing updates.

THE SCHEDULE (at George Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston) Thursday, March 17
10:00 a.m. – Men’s Weapons, Rounds 1-4

Friday, March 18
9:30 a.m. – Men’s Weapons, Rounds 5-7 (end of men’s team competition)
2:00 p.m. – Men’s Individual Weapon Semifinals, followed by Finals

Saturday, March 19
Noon – Women’s Weapons, Rounds 1-4

Sunday, March 20
9:30 a.m. – Women’s Weapons, Rounds 5-7 (end of women’s team competition)
4:00 p.m. – Women’s Individual Weapon Semifinals, followed by Finals

THURSDAY’S NCAA FENCING SCHEDULE (DAY 1) – The men will fence the first 14 (rounds 1-4) of their 23 round-robin bouts on Thursday, beginning at 10:00 a.m. Here’s who the Irish will face in first-day action (see end of release for head-to-head history):

MEN’S EPEE (sr. Michal Sobieraj and soph. Aaron Adjemian, paired with NYU’s Philip Andrews)
Round 1 – vs. teammate and NYU’s Andrews, plus Harvard’s Benji Ungar and Julian Rose and M.I.T.’s Trevor Chang
Round 2 – vs. Air Force’s Tim French and Jason Stockdale and Stanford’s Martin Lee
Round 3 – vs. the St. John’s duo of Arpad Horvath and Benjamin Bratton and Kai Keller of Brandeis
Round 4 – vs. Penn State’s Arthur Urman, Duke’s Nathan Bragg and UNC’s Benton Heimsath

Highlight Bouts: vs. St. John’s pair of Arpad Horvath (’02 and ’04 NCAA champion; 6th in ’03) and Benjamin Bratton (’04 runner-up), Air Force’s Tim French (16th in ’04 and 8th in ’03) and Jason Stockdale (11th in ’04) and Penn State’s Arthur Urman (member of one of top team contenders) … other Thursday opponents who competed in the ’04 NCAAs include Stanford’s Martin Lee (13th), Kai Keller of Brandeis (15th), Harvard’s Julian Rose (17th, also 7th in `03) and Duke’s Nathan Bragg (18th, also 20th in ’03).

Series Head-to-Head Notes for Sobieraj and Adjemian vs. Thursday’s Epee Opponents (22-14):
Harvard (2-0) – Sobieraj is 2-0 against Julian Rose, with wins coming in ’03 NCAA round-robin (5-3) and ’02 NCAA round-robin (5-2).
Air Force (9-3) – Sobieraj is 4-1 against Tim French, including 2-0 record in NCAA round-robin competition (5-3 in ’03 and ’04) and 3-0 vs. Jason Stockdale, with recent victories at ’05 Duke Duals (5-2) and ’04 NCAA round-robin (5-3) … Adjemian is 1-1 vs. both French and Stockdale
Stanford (2-1) – Sobieraj is 5-0 vs. Martin Lee, with two victories in NCAA round-robin competition (5-0 in ’04, 5-4 in ’03) … Adjemian lost to Lee at ’05 Duke Duals (2-3).
St. John’s (2-8) – Sobieraj is 1-4 against Arpad Horvath, with his win coming in their first meeting at the ’02 NYU Duals (his 3-2 victory gave ND the 14-13 dual meet win over St. John’s) … Sobieraj is 1-2 against Benjamin Bratton with victories at the ’04 NYU Duals (5-3) and the `04 NCAA Round-robin (5-4), loss in a 15-13 semifinal defeat at the 2004 NCAAs … at the ’04 NYU Duals, Adjemian lost to Bratton (3-5) and Horvath (1-5).
Brandeis (1-0) – Sobieraj defeated Kai Keller in ’04 NCAA round-robin competition (5-3)
Duke (5-2) – Sobieraj is 5-1 vs. Nathan Bragg, including 2-0 in NCAA round-robin (5-4 in ’03, 5-3 in ’04)with loss at ’03 Duke Duals (1-5) … Adjemian lost to Bragg (3-5) at ’04 NYU Duals
North Carolina (1-0) – Sobieraj defeated Benton Heimsath at ’05 Duke Duals (5-4)
Note: Sobieraj and Adjemian have not fenced Trevor Chang (M.I.T.), Phili Andrews (NYU), Kai Keller (Brandeis) or Arthur Urman (Penn State)

A Look Ahead At Friday’s Key Epee Bouts:
Round 5 – vs. Wayne State’s Marek Petraszek and Wojciech Dudek and Columbia’s William Verigan
Round 6 – vs. Princeton’s Soren Thompson and Ben Solomon, and Jason Henderson of Rutgers
Round 7 – vs. Ohio State’s Denis Tolkachev and Christian Rivera

MEN’S SABRE (sophomores Patrick Ghattas and Matt Stearns, paired with Columbia’s Paul Reyfman)
Rd 1 – vs. teammate and Columbia’s Reyfman, plus Harvard’s Tim Hagman and David Jakus, Columbia’s Alexander Krul
Round 2 – vs. UC San Diego’s Bret Martin and Jason Runyan and Haverford’s Christian Flanders
Round 3 – vs. Rutgers duo of Ben Igoe and Phil Dolata and Aaron Hernandes of Johns Hopkins
Round 4 – vs. St. John’s pair of Serjey Isayenko and Nijmy Cadet and North Carolina’s Wesley Newkirk

Highlight Bouts: vs. St. John’s pair of Serjey Isayenko (’02 NCAA runner-up, 4th in ’03) and Nijmy Cadet (member of one of top team contenders), Ben Igoe of Rutgers (3rd at ’04 NCAAs) and Columbia’s Alexander Krul (6th at ’04 NCAAs)

Series Head-to-Head Notes for Ghattas and Stearns vs. Thursday’s Sabre Opponents (17-13):
Columbia (6-4) – Ghattas rallied from a 0-3 deficit to beat Krul at the ’04 NYU Duals and give ND a 14-13 team win (he lost 4-5 bouts to Krul at the ’04 NCAAs and ’05 NYU Duals) … Stearns is 2-1 in college bouts vs. Krul, winning at the ’04 NCAAs (5-3) and ’05 NYU Duals (5-2) while dropping a tight bout at the ’04 NCAAs (4-5) … Ghattas owns a pair of wins over Reyfman (5-4 at ’04 NCAAs, 5-2 at ’05 NYU Duals) while Stearns has split two (4-5 at ’04 NCAAs, 5-3 at ’05 NYU Duals) … Ghattas also beat Krul to win the 2004 Junior Olympics title (15-12)
Harvard (2-0) – both ND fencers turned in 5-1 wins over Jakus at the ’04 NCAAs
UC San Diego (4-0) – the ND fencers swept Martin in ’04 at ND Duals (both 5-3) and NCAAs (Ghattas 5-3, Stearns 5-2)
Johns Hopkins (2-0) – both ND fencers posted 5-3 wins over Fernandes at the ’05 NYU Duals
Haverford (0-2) – both ND fencers lost to Flanders in ’04 NCAAs (Ghattas 4-5, Stearns 1-5)
Rutgers (0-2) – both ND fencers lost to Igoe at the ’04 NCAAs (Ghattas 1-5, Stearns 2-5) … Ghattas did beat Igoe in the quarterfinals of the Penn State Open in the fall of ’04 (15-13)
St. John’s (0-4) – Ghattas dropped a pair to Isayenko in ’04 (1-5 at NYU Duals, 3-5 at NCAAs), as did Stearns (3-5, 4-5)
North Carolina (3-1) – Ghattas beat Newkirk at the ’04 NCAAs (5-2) and the ’05 Duke Duals (5-2) while Stearns also beat him in the NCAA (5-4) but lost at the Duke Duals (1-5) … Ghattas also beat Newkirk in round-of-16 at the Penn State Open in the fall of ’04 (15-9) while Stearns beat Newkirk in the ’03 PSU Open (15-9, round of 16)
Note: Ghattas and Stearns have not fenced Nijmy Cadet (St. John’s), Phil Dolata (Rutgers), Tim Hagaman (Harvard) or Jason Runyan (UCSD).

Looking Ahead to Friday’s Key Sabre Bouts
Round 5 – vs. Ohio State’s Adam Crompton and Jason Rogers and Detroit’s Jaroslaw Jelinik
Round 6 – vs. Penn State’s Franz Boghiciv and Ian Farr and NYU’s Andrew Magee
Round 7 – vs. Stanford’s Curtis Andrus and Jon Pearlstein and Yale’s Christopher Peterson

MEN’S FOIL (freshman Jakub Jedrkowiak, paired with Stanford’s Steve Gerberman, Princeton’s Alejandro Bras)
Round 1 – vs. Stanford’s Gerberman and Princeton’s Bras, plus Penn’s Ron Berkowsky and Michael Galligan and Duke’s Jackson McClam
Round 2 – vs. NYU’s Gabriel Sinkin and Alexander Kao and Harvard’s Enoch Woodhouse
Round 3 – vs. Ohio State’s Boaz Ellis and Will Jeter and Cleveland State’s Mike Merker
Round 4 – vs. the St. John’s duo of Nitai Kfir and Henry Kennard and Vassar’s Michael Kantor

Highlight Bouts: vs. Ohio State’s Boaz Ellis (’04 NCAA champ) and Will Jeter (member of one of top team contenders),the St. John’s duo of Nitai Kfir (3rd in ’04, ’03 runner-up) and Henry Kennard (6th in ’04), Harvard’s Enoch Woodhouse (5th in ’04), Stanford’s Steve Gerberman (3rd in ’02, 9th in ’03, DNF in ’04 due to Olympic qualifying attempt), Penn’s Ron Berkowsky (’05 freshman, Regional champ), Princeton’s Alejandro Bras (21st in ’04) and NYU’s Gabe Sinkin (7th in ’03)

Jedrkowiak Head-to-Head Series vs. Thursday’s Foil Opponents (7-7): Stanford (1-0) – beat Gerberman (5-2) at the ’05 NYU Duals
Duke (1-0) – beat Jackson McClam (5-3) at ’05 Duke Duals
NYU (1-1) – lost to Gabriel Sinkin (4-5) and beat Alexander Kao (5-2) at ’05 NYU Duals
Ohio State (3-5) – lost four time to Ellis during the ’05 college season, after beating him in the fall of ’04 at the Penn State Open in a 15-10 semifinal (Ellis beat him 5-1 at the NYU and ND Dials, 5-2 in the MFC team bouts and 5-3 at the Regional) … Jedrkowiak posted three 5-2 wins over Jeter (NYU and ND Duals and Regional) but lost a fenceoff vs. Jeter to determine the Regional title.
Cleveland State (1-1) – lost to Mike Merker (4-5) at ’05 ND Duals but defeated him (5-2) at ’05 Regional
Note: Jedrkowiak has not yet fenced college bouts vs. Ron Berkowsky (Penn), Alejandro Bras (Princeton), Michael Galligan (Penn), Cameron Sprowles (UC San Diego), Spencer Sugimoto (M.I.T.), Michael Kanto (Vassser), Enoch Woodhouse (Harvard) and the St. John’s duo of Nitai Kfir and Henry Kennard

Looking Ahead to Friday’s Key Foil Bouts
Round 5 vs. Penn State’s Non Panchan and Jeffrey Chang
Round 7 vs. Columbia’s Jeremy Sinkin