Notre Dame epeeist Michal Sobieraj (left) and Ohio State's Denis Tolkachev (right) are two of several elite fencers who will be competing this weekend at the ND Duals.

Nation's Top College Fencing Talent To Be On Display This Weekend At The ND Duals

Jan. 27, 2005

Three of the nation’s top-ranked fencing teams – led by an elite collection of former NCAA champions and All-Americans – will be among the 13-team field this weekend at the Notre Dame Duals, set for the Joyce Center Fieldhouse on Saturday, Jan. 29 (8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) and Sunday, Jan. 30 (8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.). Saturday’s marquee matchups include Penn State taking on Ohio State (9:30 a.m.) and the host Irish (11:00) in succession while Notre Dame will tangle with defending NCAA champion OSU on Sunday morning at 9:30.

Results from the ND Duals (including team scores broken down by weapon) will be available at the following link:

The two-day event will provide spectators the chance to see eight former NCAA champion fencers in action (13 combined titles), plus three others who have reached the NCAA title bout and two more who have been 3rd-place finishers. The field is highlighted by 45 competitors who have competed in previous NCAA Tournaments, with 32 of them registering All-America top-12 finishes.

Ohio State is ranked 1st in the USFCA men’s and women’s polls while Penn State is 2nd in the men’s poll and 3rd in the women’s. The Notre Dame women opened the season ranked 2nd, with the Irish men checking in at the 4th spot. The Notre Dame women will fence 6th-ranked Northwestern in the final round on Saturday (3:30).

The former NCAA champions who are slated to be on hand include three from the Notre Dame women’s team – senior foilist Alicja Kryczalo (’02, ’03, ’04), fifth-year epeeist Kerry Walton (’02) and sophomore sabre Valerie Providenza (’04) – plus three of the four other champions from the ’04 NCAAs: Wayne State epeeist Anna Garina, Ohio State foilist Boaz Ellis and OSU two-time sabre champ Adam Crompton. Penn State Nonpatat Panchan – the ’02 and ’03 NCAA men’s foil champ (also ’01 runner-up) – has returned to college fencing after making a run at the ’04 Olympics while PSU’s Katarzyna Trzopek won the 2003 NCAA women’s epee title (she took 5th in ’04).

The star-studded collection of women’s foilists set to compete at the ’05 ND Duals includes seven of the top-nine finishers from the 2004 NCAAs: Kryczalo, her ND classmate Andrea Ament (2nd; also 2nd in ’02, 3rd in ’03), OSU twins Hanna (3rd in ’02 and ’04; 8th in ’03) and Metta (5th in ’02-’04) Thompson, PSU’s Anna Donath (7th in ’04; 6th in ’03) and Meredith Chin (9th in ’04; 12 in ’02, 15th in ’03) and Northwestern’s Julia Foldi (8th in ’02 and ’04; 10th in ’03). Three others have competed in the NCAAs: Northwestern’s Jessica Florendo (13th in ’04) and Christina Wang (20th in ’03) and Cal State Fullerton’s Senta Breden (17th in ’03, 20th in ’04).

Garina and Walton (also 5th in ’03) are set for a potential rematch of the ’04 NCAA title bout, with other All-America epeeists at the ND Duals including Trzopek, OSU’s Kaela Brendler (7th in ’04), ND sophomore Amy Orlando (10th in ’04) and WSU’s Anna Vinnikov (13th in ’02, 8th in ’03, 16th in ’04). Others of note include PSU’s Case Szarwark (18th at ’04 NCAAs) and Northwestern’s Sharon Sullivan (20th).

Providenza and PSU’s Sophie Hiss could meet in a rematch of the ’04 NCAA women’s sabre title bout, with other All-Americans at the ND Duals including OSU’s Marguerite Plekhanov (10th at ’04 NCAAs), Fullerton’s Rachel Liebing (12th in ’04) and Northwestern’s Lauren Dunn (8th in ’02). Notre Dame’s deep sabre contingent also includes freshman Mariel Zagunis (the ’04 Olympic champion) and sophomore Angela Vincent (16th at ’04 NCAAs) while Northwestern has three others with NCAA experience: Lauren Van Gieson (14th in ’04), Mai Van Vu (18th in ’04) and Emily Pasternak (20th in ’03).

Top matchups on the men’s side likely will come in men’s sabre. Crompton and teammate Jason Rogers (3rd-place at ’02 and ’03 NCAAs) give OSU a formidable duo, with Rogers returning to college fencing after focusing in 2004 on his successful bid for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. His ’04 replacement, Jason Paul, also is back after a solid 9th-place finish at the ’04 NCAAs. Penn State also has a solid pair in Marten Zagunis (older brother of ND’s Mariel Zagunis) and Ian Farr, who placed 4th and 5th respectively at the ’04 NCAAs (Zagunis also was 8th in ’03). Notre Dame will counter with its sophomore tandem of All-American Patrick Ghattas (10th at ’04 NCAAs) and Matt Stearns (14th), who have plenty of experience battling their PSU and OSU counterparts.

The ND Duals will showcase some of the top products from the Oregon Fencing Alliance, an elite sabre-only academy in the Portland area. Four of the ND fencers – Ghattas, Providenza, Vincent and Zagunis – each honed their craft at the OFA, as did PSU’s Farr and Zagunis.

The PSU-OSU matchup will pit former NCAA foil champs (Panchan and Ellis) vs. one another, with other top foilists to watch including PSU’s Ian Schlaepfer (8th at ’02 NCAAs, 7th in ’04) and Chris Miller (13th in ’03) and ND sophomore Frank Bontempo (20th in ’04).

Notre Dame three-time All-American Michael Sobieraj (10th in ’02, 2nd in ’03, 3rd in ’03) will face OSU’s Denis Tolkachev looking to reprise his win in the ’04 NCAA third-place bout – with other top men’s epeeists at the ND Duals including the WSU tandem of Marek Petraszek (7th at ’04 NCAAs) and Wojciech Dudek (12th in ’04, 17th in ’02) and OSU’s Brian Gross (11th in ’03).

The complete Notre Dame Duals schedule follows below:

Saturday, Jan. 29
8:00 a.m. – Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin, Penn State vs. Northwestern (women only), Notre Dame JV vs. Northwestern (men only), Lawrence vs. Michigan State, Detroit vs. Fullerton, Wayne State vs. Michigan, Cleveland State vs. Ohio State
9:30 a.m. – Notre Dame vs. Fullerton, Michigan vs. Michigan State, Ohio State vs. Penn State, Cleveland State vs. Wisconsin, Wayne State vs. Northwestern, Lawrence vs. Detroit
11:00 a.m. – Notre Dame vs. Penn State, Michigan State vs. Wisconsin, Fullerton vs. Northwestern, Lawrence vs. Michigan, Detroit vs. Ohio State, Wayne State vs. Cleveland State
12:30 p.m. – Notre Dame vs. Michigan State, Fullerton vs. Penn State, Michigan vs. Wisconsin, Ohio State vs. Northwestern, Lawrence vs. Cleveland State, Detroit vs. Wayne State
2:00 p.m. – Notre Dame vs. Michigan, Ohio State vs. Fullerton, Cleveland State vs. Michigan State, Wayne State sv. Penn State, Detroit vs. Wisconsin, Lawrence vs. Northwestern
3:30 p.m. – Notre Dame vs. Northwestern, Lawrence vs. Wisconsin, Detroit vs. Penn State (men only), Detroit vs. Notre Dame JV (women only), Wayne State vs. Michigan State, Cleveland State vs. Fullerton, Ohio State vs. Michigan

Sunday, Jan. 30
8:00 a.m. – Notre Dame vs. Cleveland State, Wayne State vs. Ohio State, Detroit vs. Michigan, Lawrence vs. Fullerton, Michigan State vs. Notre Dame JV, Wisconsin vs. Chicago (bye: Northwestern)
9:30 a.m. – Notre Dame vs. Ohio State; Cleveland State vs. Michigan; Wayne State vs. Fullerton; Detroit vs. Michigan State; Wisconsin vs. Northwestern; Lawrence vs. Notre Dame JV
11:00 a.m. – Notre Dame vs. Lawrence, Detroit vs. Northwestern, Wayne State vs. Wisconsin, Ohio State vs. Michigan State Michigan vs. Fullerton, Cleveland State vs. Notre Dame JV
12:30 p.m. – Notre Dame vs. Detroit, Lawrence vs. Wayne State, Ohio State vs. Wisconsin, Michigan vs. Notre Dame JV, Chicago vs. Northwestern (byes: Cleveland State, Fullerton, Michigan State)
2:00 p.m. – Notre Dame vs. Wayne State, Detroit vs. Cleveland State, Lawrence vs. Ohio State, Wisconsin vs. Notre Dame JV, Michigan vs. Chicago (bye: Fullerton, Michigan State, Northwestern)
3:30 p.m. – Notre Dame vs. Chicago; Notre Dame JV vs. Chicago