Juniors Nicole McKee and Lee Kiefer both hope to qualify for the Irish at the 2015 NCAA Midwest Regional Saturday.

Notre Dame Fencing Heads to Northwestern for NCAA Midwest Regional

March 6, 2015

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s fencing teams are traveling this weekend to a familiar location at the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion on Northwestern’s campus, as the Irish hope to qualify the maximum of 12 entrants to the NCAA Championships. Last year the Irish sent 10 entrants to the Championships and finished sixth, boasting two runner-up finishers and two individual champions.

In epee, 2014 runner-up and 2013 competitor Garrett McGrath is joined by junior John Poremski and freshman Nicholas Hanahan. McGrath finished 23rd as a freshman and made it to last year’s semifinals with the No. 4 seed. On the women’s side, two-time qualifiers Ashley Severson and Nicole Ameli are joined by junior Catherine Lee. Lee has had a strong season in 2014-15, posting a 49-17 mark.

In foil, the women’s squad boasts three familiar faces in the form of senior Madison Zeiss and juniors Lee Kiefer and Nicole McKee, while the men’s team elected to send sophomores Virgile Collineau and Hazem Khazbak in addition to senior Ariel DeSmet. DeSmet made waves in 2011 when he earned an underdog victory against Penn State’s Miles Chamley-Watson to clinch the NCAA title as a freshman and also qualified in 2013, where he finished eighth in the standings. Kiefer, fresh off a string of victories in international competitions, is the reigning NCAA champion in women’s foil, having beat Zeiss 13-10 in 2014. Zeiss, a three-time NCAA competitor for Notre Dame, looks to qualify for the fourth consecutive year.

In sabre the Irish have elected to send an all-freshman rotation, with Claudia Kulmacz and Francesca Russo competing for the women, and Jonathan Fitzgerald and Jonah Shainberg representing on the men’s team. Russ, Fitzgerald and Shainberg have all been named ACC Fencers of the week throughout the season, and hope to qualify in their first year with the Notre Dame program.

The women’s event begins at 9 a.m. CT Saturday, with the men to follow at approximately 1 p.m. Updates will be posted on the team’s twitter account, with full recap to follow on und.com.

Lizzie Mikes,

Media Services Coordinator