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Notre Dame Fencers Open Day Three of NCAA Competition

March 23, 2002

Saturday, March 23, 2002 Madison, New Jersey (Drew University)

Notre Dame’s four-day quest to reclaim the NCAA combined fencing title resumes today, as the Irish men’s squad takes its turn in doing battle at Drew University’s Simon Forum and Athletic Center … Notre Dame – runner-up to Penn State every year from 1996-2000 before finishing third in 2001 – is taking aim at its first national title since 1994 and joins PSU as the only teams to qualify the maximum 12 fencers for the NCAA field (defending champion St. John’s qualified 11, followed by Ohio State with 10).

The Irish enter today’s action in second place after winning 97 bouts (out of a maximum 135) in the women’s competition … SJU is the leader with 100 points while PSU is in third with 94.

The 144-fencer field includes 24 men’s and 24 women’s fencers at each of the three weapons (foil, epee and sabre) … fencers compete against the other 23 entrants 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 will fence for the respective individual titles at the end of Friday and Sunday’s competition (those results do not factor into the team scores) … the top 12 finishers in each weapon receive All-America honors.

TODAY’S SCHEDULE The men will fence 14 of their 23 bouts on Saturday, beginning at a later noon start. Here’s who the Irish will face in first-day action (see end of release for head-to-head history):

Men’s Epee (freshman Michal Sobieraj and junior Jan Viviani) Round 1 – vs. (ND teammate), Columbia’s Michael Yablon, NYU’s Alexander Tsinis and Ranjet Singh, and Johns Hopkins’ Matthew Bouloubasis

Round 2 – vs. Anton Gurevich and Arpad Horvath of St. John’s and Neal Devaraj of MIT

Round 3 – vs. Stanford’s Graham Allen and Ken Jung and Brown’s Mark Dembitz

Round 4 – vs. Ohio State’s Spencer Jones and Brian Gross and Rutgers’ Donovan Holtz

Highlight Bouts: SJU’s Gurevich and Horvath, OSU’s Jones and Gross and Stanford’s Allen (8th at ’01 NCAA’s)

Men’s Foil (junior Ozren Debic and freshman Derek Snyder) Round 1 – vs. (ND teammate), OSU’s Nathan Weir, Stanford’s Steve Gerberman and Mark Mulholland and Cleveland State’s Eric McConkey

Round 2 – vs. Penn State’s Nontapat Panchan and Ian Schlaepfer and MIT’s Oliver Chadwick

Round 3 – vs. Penn’s Jeffrey Breen and Andrew Radu and Johns Hopkins’ Bryan Bishe

Round 4 – vs. NYU’s Michael Pasinkoff and Aleksandr Nazarov and Princeton’s Eric Stodala

Highlight Bouts: vs. Stanford’s Gerberman and Mulholland, Penn State’s Panchan (2nd ’01 NCAAs) and Penn’s Breen

Men’s Sabre (senior Andre Crompton and junior Matt Fabricant) Round 1 – vs. (ND teammate), Rutgers Joe Zampieri, Columbia’s Paolo Roselli and Andrew Sohn and UCSD’s Andrew Anfora

Round 2 – vs. Penn State’s Amir Rahimi and Alex Weber and Drew’s Richard Frank

Round 3 – vs. Yale’s Mitsuhiro Sudo and Byron Igoe and Wayne State’s Jakub Krochmalski

Round 4 – vs. Duke’s Benjamin Cohen and Andrew Mahen and Stanford’s David La Valle

Highlight Bouts: vs. Columbia’s Roselli (5th ’01 NCAAs), Penn State’s Rahimi (8th ’01) and Weber, WSU’s Krochmalski (3rd ’01, 2nd ’00)

SPORTS HOTLINE UPDATES The Notre Dame sports hotline will provide regular on-site updates from all four days of the NCAAs … to access the hotline, call (574) 631-3000, then select option “9” (for fencing and golf) followeed by option “1” for fencing updates.



*Jan Viviani … 5-10/180, Jr. … Haworth,N.J. (N. Valley Demarest HS/N.Y. Athletic Club) Regular-season record: 42-3 in 2002, 118-14 career …Midwest Fencing Conf. Champion, 2nd at Midwest Regional NCAA record: 34-12 (+65) … 3rd in 2000, 3rd in 2001 (two-time All-American) Currently 9th in U.S. senior/open men’s epee rankings

Michal Sobieraj…6-2/185, Fr. … Krakow, Poland (1st L.O. HS/Krakovia Fencing Club) Regular-season record: 26-1 in 2002, 1st at Midwest Regional (missed 3 weeks due to foot injury)


*Ozren Debic … 6-1/175, Jr. … Zagreb, Croatia (Ugostiteljska) Regular-season record: 30-2 in 2002, 114-7 …1st at Midwest Fencing Conf. Champ., 1st at Midwest Regional NCAA record: 37-9 (+87) … 2nd in 2000, 5th in 2001 (two-time All-American)

Derek Snyder … 6-0/165, Fr. … Chatsworth, Calif. (Chaminade Prep/Masque De Fer Club) Regular-season record: 32-7 in 2002… 3rd at Midwest Regional (missed Midwest Conference Championships due to tonsillitis) Currently 2nd in U.S. junior men’s foil rankings, 41st in world junior rankings, 14th in U.S. senior/open men’s foil rankings


*Andre Crompton … 6-1/220, Sr. … Irvington, N.J. (St. Benedict Prep/N.Y. Fencers Club) Regular-season record: 42-5 in 2002, 150-19 career … 2nd at Midwest Fencing Conf. Champ., 4th at Midwest Regional NCAA record: 16-7 (+25) … 7th in 2001 (All-American) Currently 11th in U.S. senior/open men’s sabre rankings

Matt Fabricant … 5-11/155, Jr. … (Elizabeth, N.J./St. Benedict Prep/N.Y. Fencers Club) Regular-season record: 39-8 in 2002, 102-17 career … 5th at Midwest Regional Currently 21st in U.S. senior/open men’s sabre rankings * indicates captain

VIVIANI, DEBIC AMONG IRISH ALL-TIME BESTS Junior captains Jan Viviani (118-14/.894 in epee) and Ozren Debic (126-7/.947) both rank atop the Notre Dame lists for career regular-season winning percentage in their respective weapons … Debic also ranks 3rd on the ND all-weapons list for career winning pct., behind sabres Leszek Nowoliewski (97-2/.980, ’88-’91) and Mike Sullivan (183-4/.979, ’76-’79) while Viviani is 12th on the all-weapons list … Viviani’s .933 pct. in 2002 (42-3) ranks 3rd in ND history and is best by an Irish men’s epeeist since 1989 … Debic is the only fencer listed three times in the single-season men’s foil winning pct. list (6th in 2002 at 30-2/.938) … Debic also owns a .792 career winning pct. in the NCAAs (38-10), good for 7th in ND men’s fencing history and 4th-best ever by an Irish men’s foilist. SCOUTING THE FIELD Penn State (4) has the edge on Notre Dame (3) and St. John’s in terms of number of returning All-Americans from the 2001 NCAAs … ND junior epee captain Jan Viviani was 3rd at the 2000 while junior foil captain Ozren Debic was 2nd and 5th and senior sabre captain Andre Crompton was 7th in 2001 … PSU’s returning All-Americans includes a pair of 2001 NCAA runner-ups in peeist Adam Wiercoch and foilist Nontapat Panchan, plus epeeist Daniel Landgren (5th) and sabre Mohaymen Rahimi (8th) … SJU returns 2001 NCAA sabre champ Ivan Lee and foilist Jon Tiomkin (6th in the ’01 NCAAs).

The men’s epee field is loaded with seven returning All-Americans (five of the top six finishers), plus two other 2001 NCAA qualifiers … the foil field include four All-Americans and six others who competed in the ’01 NCAAs … seven of the top eight 2001 finishers return for a blockbuster sabre field, plus one other All-American and three qualifiers from the ’01 NCAAs.

Top NCAA newcomers include yet two more top sabres in Ohio State’s Jason Rogers (ranked 4th in the U.S.) and Penn State sabre Alex Weber.

THIRD TIME’S A CHARM? Notre Dame junior captains Jan Viviani and Ozren Debic are two of 11 fencers among the 72 entrants in the 2002 field who are making their third straight trip to the NCAAs … the others include epeeists Daniel Landgren (PSU), Set Kelsey (Air Force) and Cameron Hill (Yale), foilists Jon Tiomlkin (SJU) and the NYU tandem of Aleksandr Nazarov and Michael Pasinkoff, and sabres Ivan Lee (SJU), Jakub Krochmalski (Wayne State), Paul Friedman (Brown) and Andrew Mahen (Duke).

FRIEND OR FOE? Several of Notre Dame’s NCAA opponents are former high school or club teammates, led by sabres Ivan Lee and Darrin Whitmer (St. John’s) and Andrew Sohn (Columbia) – all of whom trained alongside ND’s Andre Crompton and Matt Fabricant at the New York Fencers Club … ND freshman foilist Derek Snyder has became close friends with Stanford’s Steve Gerberman (they are the top-ranked U.S. junior-level foilists and are part of the three-fencer U.S. men’s foil squad that will compete in the upcoming Junior World Championships). Irish freshman epeeist Michal Sobieraj will reunite with several members of the Polish National team including first year epeeist Wojciech Dudek of Wayne State University and last year’s NCAA runner up Adam Wiercioch of Penn State.


* Notre Dame junior epee captain Jan Viviani (9th) is the highest-ranked U.S. senior-level men’s epeeist in the 2002 NCAA level … those ranked above Viviani include Eric Hansen, Rashaan Greenhouse, Justin Tausig, Michael Lyons, Cody Mattern, Chris O’Loughlin, Michael Feldschuh and Nat Burke.

* Freshman foilist Derek Snyder is 2nd in the U.S. junior-level rankings (41st in the world) behind Stanford’s Steve Gebberman (12th in the world) … Snyder also is 14th in the U.S. senior rankings, with three who are ranked ahead of him among those in the 2002 NCAA field: Jonathan Tiomkin of St. John’s (2nd), Stanford’s Gebberman (11th) and Columbia’s Jeremy Sinkin (12th).

* Senior sabre captain Andre Crompton (11th) is the 4th-highest-ranked U.S. senior-level men’s sabre in the 2002 NCAA field, behind Ivan Lee of St. John’s (1st) and the Ohio State duo of Jason Rogers (4th) and Colin Parker (7th).

HEAD-TO-HEAD RESULTS Here’s a sampling of recent Notre Dame results vs. Saturday’s opponent (regular-season bouts unless notes, most conference championship and regional bouts not included):

MEN’S EPEE vs. Yablon, Columbia – Viviani won 5-3 (’02), Sobieraj won 5-4 (’02)

vs. Singh, NYU – Viviani won 5-2 (’02) lost 3-5 (’01), won 5-3 (’00), 5-4 (’01 NCAAs), Sobieraj won 5-0 (’02)

vs. Tsinis, NYU – Viviani won 5-2 (’02), 5-2 (’01), 5-3 (’00), 5-1 (’01 NCAAs), Sobieraj won 5-3 (’02)

vs. Gurevich, St. John’s – Viviani won 5-2 (’02), lost 1-5 (’00), Sobieraj won 5-4 (’02)

vs. Horvath, St. John’s – Viviani lost 1-5 (’02), Sobieraj won 3-2 (’02)

vs. Allen, Stanford – Viviani won 5-4 (’02), 5-2 (’01), 5-0 (’00), 5-2 (’01 NCAAs), Sobieraj won 5-1 (’02)

vs. Jung, Stanford – Viviani won 5-0 (’02), Sobieraj won 5-3 (’02)

vs. Gross, Ohio State – Viviani won 5-2 (’02)

vs. Jones, Ohio State – Viviani lost 4-5 (’02), won 5-2 (’01), won 5-4 (’01 NCAAs)

MEN’S FOIL vs. Gerberman, Stanford – Debic won 5-4 (’02), Snyder won 5-3 (’02)

vs. Mulholland, Stanford – Debic lost 1-5 (’02), won 5-1 (’01), Snyder won 5-4 (’02)

vs. McConkey, Cleveland State – Debic won 5-2 (’01), 5-3 (’01 NCAAs), Snyder won 5-0 (’02)

vs. Nazarov, NYU – Debic won 5-0 (’02), 5-3 (’01), 5-0 (’01 NCAAs), lost 4-5 (’00 NCAAs), Snyder lost 1-5 (’02)

vs. Pasinkoff, NYU – Debic won 5-3 (’02), 5-1 (’01), 5-1 (’00), 5-3 (’01 NCAAs), 5-0 (’00 NCAAs), Snyder won 5-2 (’02)

MEN’S SABRE vs. Roselli, Columbia – Crompton won 5-4 (’02), lost 0-5 (’01), lost 1-5 (’01 NCAAs), Fabricant lost 2-5 (’02), won 5-2 (’01)

vs. Sohn, Columbia – Crompton won 5-4 (’02), Fabricant lost 3-5 (’02)

vs. Anfora, UC-San Diego – Crompton won 5-1 (’02), Fabricant won 5-4 (’02)

vs. Igoe, Yale – Crompton won 5-2 (’02), 5-2 (’01), Fabricant won 5-2 (’02), 5-3 (’01)

vs. Sudo, Yale – Crompton lost 3-5 (’02), Fabricant won 5-2 (’02)

vs. Krochmalski, Wayne State – Crompton lost 2-5 (’02), 4-5 (’01), 2-5 (’00), won 5-3 (’01 NCAAs), Fabricant lost 0-5 (’02), 2-5 (’01)

vs. La Valle, Stanford – Crompton won 5-4 (’02), 5-3 (’00), Fabricant won 5-1 (’02)