March 7, 2015
EVANSTON, Ill. – The University of Notre Dame fencing program competed Saturday at the NCAA Midwest Regional, with early indicators showing the Irish qualifying 12 entrants to the NCAA Championships later this month.
“I was truly amazed at the effort and the tenaciousness our athletes put forth today,” Irish head coach Gia Kvaratskhelia says. “It was a compilation of the entire year in one day’s work, and I couldn’t be prouder of where we came out. We will wait until tomorrow to make sure we have the 12 that we think we have, and then on Monday we will get back to work; we’ll work on the details, we will look at the film studies, and we will just prepare for the NCAAs.”
In women’s sabre, freshmen Francesca Russo and Claudia Kulmacz finished second and third, behind Wayne State’s Julie Saint-Criq. Russo finished with a 10-2 record, while Kulmacz earned a 9-3 mark. On the men’s side, freshmen Jonah Shainberg (11-2) and Jonathan Fitzgerald (10-3) finished second and fourth respectively.
In women’s foil, 2012 Olympian Lee Kiefer finished in first place with a perfect, 16-0 record. Not far behind was 2014 NCAA runner-up Madison Zeiss, who came in third (13-3). Nicole McKee finished the day in sixth with an 11-5 mark. On the men’s side, 2011 NCAA Champion Ariel DeSmet earned a 10-2 mark, good for second place, while Frenchman Virgile Collineau came in third with his 9-3 record. Hazem Khazbak finished sixth with an 8-4 record.
In women’s epee, Nicole Ameli had the highest finish for the Irish, coming in second (14-2). Ashley Severson and Catherine Lee had the same 12-4 record, yet Severson came in fourth and Lee finished fifth by indicator. In men’s epee, 2014 NCAA runner-up Garrett McGrath finished second with a 10-3 record, and freshman Nicholas Hanahan came in sixth (9-4). John Poremski finished eighth with a 6-7 mark.
The Irish are next in action for the NCAA Championships, held Mar. 19-22 at the French Field House on Ohio State’s campus.
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