March 23, 2003
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Note: check back to und.com for a complete recap, including quotes and photos.
After nearly a decade of frustrating near-misses and an assortment of strong individual showings that were tempered by the missed chances in the team competition, the Notre Dame fencing team has captured the program’s sixth all-time NCAA title and first since 1994 – following a tension-filled final day of action at Air Force’s Cadet Field House.
The Notre Dame men posted 36 wins in the morning’s bouts while the Irish women concluded their bouts with a 38-16 showing, as Notre Dame wrapped up the two-day competition with 182 points to edge defending champion (and longtime rival) Penn State by three points (179), followed by St. John’s (171), Ohio State (167), Columbia (113) and Princeton (107). Notre Dame’s 182-point total in the combined competition fittingly featured nearly identical contributions from the six men’s fencers (89) and the six women (93).
Notre Dame finished as the runner-up to Penn State every year from 1996-2000 while also finishing third in 1995, 2001 and ’02.
In the individual competition (which does not factor into the team scoring), Notre Dame sophomore Alicja Kryczalo repeated as the women’s foil champion with a 15-12 win over Stanford’s Iris Zimmerman (the ’01 NCAA champ). Kryczalo’s classmate Andrea Ament took home third-place honors in foil while sophomore men’s epeeist Michal Sobieraj lost a heartbreaking title bout to Air Force’s Seth Kelsey (8-7, in overtime) and senior men’s foilist Ozren Debic placed fourth in the individual competition.
Here’s a quick look at Notre Dame’s point breakdown in the round-robin bouts:
Men’s Foil – Ozren Debic (4th, 18-5), Derek Snyder (5th, 17-6)
Men’s Epee – Michal Sobieraj (1st, 20-3), Jan Viviani (10th, 12-11)
Men’s Sabre – Matt Fabricant (6th, 15-8), Gabor Szelle (11th, 12-11)
Women’s Foil – Andrea Ament (3rd, 19-4), Alicja Kryczalo (4th, 19-4)
Women’s Epee – Kerry Walton (5th, 14-9), Meagan Call (10th, 13-10)
Women’s Sabre – Destanie Milo (6th, 16-7), Maggie Jordan (21st, 6-17)