March 22, 2001
Irish men look to make up 12-point deficit on St. John’s before women’s teams close four-day event.
St. John’s holds a 12-point margin on Notre Dame following Thursday’s first day of action at the NCAA Combined Men’s and Women’s Fencing Championship, at the University of Wisconsin Parkside’s Petretti Fieldhouse.
Thursday’s action concluded with four rounds of men’s epee competition, with the morning rounds featuring the men’s sabre and foil bouts. The men conclude with three rounds per weapon on Friday, with the women then taking center stage on Saturday and Sunday.
St. John’s and Notre Dame were the only entrants to qualify the maximum 12 fencers and the Red Storm won 65 bouts to claim a 12-point cushion on the Irish, who won 53 bouts on the first day (out of a possible 81). SJU’s potent sabre tandem of Keeth Smart (14-0) and Ivan Lee (12-2) combined to win 26 bouts while ND likewise was led by its sabres, with senior Andrzej Bednarski (Granger, Ind.) winning 11 of 14 bouts while junior Andre Crompton (Irvington, N.J.) went 10-4.
Five-time defending NCAA champion Penn State stands five points behind the Irish, with 48 points, followed by Stanford (43) and Princeton (41).
Thursday’s late action saw Irish sophomore Jan Viviani (Haworth, N.J.) match Alex Roytblat of St. John’s for the fourth-most wins (10) in the epee competition, heading into Friday’s final three rounds. The top four finishers in each weapon will advance to the semifinals of the individual competition (those results do not factor into the team scoring), with ties broken by ?indicators? (or overall point differential). Roytblat owns a +24 on indicators while Viviani is +19.
Notre Dame junior Brian Casas (Mishawaka) stands in 17th place following four rounds of epee bouts, with six wins (the top 12 finishers earn All-America status, with Casas just one win out of 12th place heading into Friday’s action).
Viviani’s more noteworthy wins came versus Roytblat, Ohio State’s Alan Jones and Rutgers’ Yevgeni Niyzov (all 5-4), plus a 5-2 win over Penn State’s Adam Wiercioch. He also dropped three one-point bouts, losing 5-4 to Casas and OSU’s Geoff Kane and 4-3 to PSU’s Daniel Landgren in overtime.
Casas collected his sixth win on his final bout of the day with a 5-4 decision over Princeton’s Soren Thompson, who sits atop the epee standings after posting 12 wins on the first day. Casas also turned in a 5-4 win over Wiercioch, who match the 11 wins turned in by Air Force’s Weston Seth Kelsey.
Bednarski and Crompton are poised to join Smart and Lee in a probable semifinal grouping, with other contenders including Brown’s Paul Friedman (who matched Crompton’s 10 wins and is tied with the Irish junior at +23 indicators) and four fencers with nine wins-most notably 2000 NCAA runner-up Jakub Krochmalski of Wayne State. The Irish fencers will face a challenging second day that includes bouts vs. St. John’s, Wayne State and Columbia.
Irish sophomore Ozren Debic (10-4, Zagreb, Croatia) and Stanford’s Felix Reichling will need to improve on their current standings (sixth and fifth, respectively) to have any chance at reprising their 2000 NCAA title matchup (won by Reichling). The top four positions in the foil standings currently belong to Joe Fisher (St. John’s) and Columbia’s Jed Dupree (both with 13 wins) and Penn’s Yaron Roth and Penn State’s Nontapat Panchan (each with 11 wins).
Debic classmate Forest Walton (Londonberry, N.H.) stands five spots out of All-America status, in 17th with six wins and -9 on indicators (he is just one win out of 12th).