Valerie Providenza finished first at the Penn State Open, as one of seven Notre Dame fencers to finish in the top-8 at the annual event.

Providenza Takes First, Jedrkowiak Second At Penn State Open

Nov. 14, 2004

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Notre Dame sophomore Valerie Providenza won the women’s sabre title while freshman Jakub Jedrkowiak was second in the men’s foil competition at the annual Penn State Max Garret Open. Senior women’s foilist Alicja Kryczalo failed to win a rare fourth Penn State Open title, joining sophomores Amy Orlando (epee) and Patrick Ghattas (sabre) with 4th-place finishes. Other top finishes for the Irish included sophomore sabre Matt Stearns (6th) and freshman epeeist Greg Howard (8th).

Providenza was seeded 3rd after going 13-2 in the pool round of bouting. She then won her bouts in the round-of-16 and quarterfinals before defeating Harvard’s Carolyn Wright in the semifinals and besting Ohio State’s Siobhan Byrne in the 15-10 final.

Jedrkowiak faced off against two fencers who have combined to win the past three NCAA titles, besting Ohio State’s Boaz Ellis (the ’04 NCAA champ) in a 15-10 semifinal before losing to Penn State’s Nonpatat Panchan in the 15-6 final. Panchan was the ’02 and ’03 NCAA champ but did not compete in 2003-04 college fencing while training for a spot on Thailand’s Olympic team (he came up short of making the Olympic squad).

Notre Dame’s 20-fencer contingent included nine other men’s competitors, most notably senior foilist Derek Snyder – who placed 11th in his first collegiate event since suffering a hand injury late in the 2004 spring season. Sophomore Frank Bontempo – who was Snyder’s injury replacement at the ’04 NCAAs – added a 14th-place finish while three-time All-America epeeist Michael Sobieraj placed 12th in the PSU Open field. Others included the sophomore epee trio of Aaron Adjemian (14th), Patrick Gettings (22nd) and Jesse Laeuchli (26th), plus freshman folilist Diego Quinonez (21st). Senior sabre John Espinosa advanced to the second round of pools (final 32) while junior Nicholas Diacou was eliminated after the first round of sabre competition.

On the women’s side, three-time All-American and two-time NCAA runner-up Andrea Ament was forced to withdraw from the foil competition due to injury. Sophomore Angela Vincent (10th) and fifth-year competitor Danielle Davis (13th) added solid showings in sabre while freshman Rachel Cota reached the final 32 in foil.

Here are additional notes on the tournament, sorted by weapon (women’s bouts held Nov. 13, men on Nov. 14):

WOMEN’S FOIL – Kryczalo breezed through the pools (14-1) and beat PSU’s Tamara Najm in the first round of direct elimination (15-5) before pulling away from a 5-5 score to defeat Midwest rival Metta Thompson (the #6 seed) of Ohio State in the quarterfinals (15-0) … Thompson’s twin sister Hannah (the #2 seed) then ended Kryczalo’s quest for a fourth PSU Open title, scoring a touch 26 seconds into overtime for the 10-9 win (Kryczalo battled back from a 4-1 deficit, later trailing 7-2 and 9-6 before scoring the next two points and tying the bout with 26 seconds left) … Kryczalo then was in the unfamiliar position of fencing in the third-place bout and fell behind Harvard’s Emily Cross (9-4) before losing for the 4th-place finish … Ament owned an 8-1 record in pool bouts before withdrawing due to an ankle injury … Cota also advanced to the 2nd round of pools … Thompson went on to defeat Princeton’s Jacqueline Leahy in the final … the 57-fencer field included 11 of the 24 competitors from the 2004 NCAAs (7 All-Americans and each of the top-5): Kryczalo (1st), Ament (2nd), Hannah Thompson (3rd), Leahy (4th), Metta Thompson (5th), PSU’s Anna Donath (7th) and Meredith Chin (9th), Harvard’s Chloe Stinetorf (11th), Princeton’s Sara Jew-Lim (17th), Temple’s Jenna Remmert (19th) and Harvard’s Anne Austin (21st).

MEN’S FOIL – Jedrkowiak also earned the #3 seed (14-1 in pools) before beating Princeton’s Daniel Hohensee in the round-of-16 (15-3) … he then won 8 of the final 9 points to top PSU All-American Ian Schlaepfer (#6 seed) in a 15-8 quarterfinal before a similar surge in the semifinals vs. #2-seeded Ellis (15-10) … that bout was tied five times before Jedrkowiak went ahead 10-8 at the end of the 1st period … after some key advice from assistant coach Zoltan Dudas, he came out of the break and scored the next point, later leading 12-9 and scoring the final 3 touches for the 15-10 win … Panchan ran out to a 8-1 lead in the final, then led 13-2 en route to the 15-6 victory … Snyder’s return to competition included a 11-4 record in the pools, earning the #8 seed (he then lost in the round-of-16, 15-11 vs. PSU’s Jeremy Chang) … Bontempo was the #13 seed (9-6 in pools) and lost to #4 seed Cory Werk of Yale in the round-of-16 (8-15) … Quinonez posted a 5-9 record in pool bouts … the 62-fencer field included 8 competitors from the ’04 NCAAs (plus Panchan and Snyder): Ellis (1st), Werk (2nd), Harvard’s Enoch Woodhouse (5th), Schlaepfer (7th), former Rutgers fencer Jesse Scibilia (10th), Penn’s Jake Clark (18th), Bontempo (20th) and Princeton’s Alexjandro Bras (21st) … ND joined PSU (4) as the only schools with multiple fencers who finished in the top-12 while ND and PSU (4) were the only teams with 3 in the top-15.

WOMEN’S EPEE – Orlando, who missed the ’03 PSU Open due to a World Cup conflict, went 14-1 in the pools to earn the top seed … she then beat Penn’s Angelika Kyrimi (#16 seed) in a 15-9 bout before besting PSU’s Case Szarwark in a 15-8 semifinal … PSU’s Katarzyna Trzopek (the ’03 NCAA champ) then posted a 15-8 win over Orlando in the semifinals (Trzopek led 2-0 after the 1st period and 5-4 after the 2nd before running out to an 11-6 cushion) … Princeton’s Kira Hohonsee won the third-place bout vs. Orlando (15-13) … Orlando trailed early (7-3, then 11-7 at end of 2nd period) but rallied to 14-12 before the bout ended on a double touch … Trzopek won the final vs. Wayne State’s Anna Garina (the ’04 NCAA champ) … the 57-fencer field included 9 competitors from the ’04 NCAAs: Garina (1st), Trzopek (6th), Orlando (10th), Yale’s Erica Korb (11th), Harvard’s Jasmine McGlade (13th), Princeton’s Erin McGarry (14th), Wayne State’s Anna Vinnikov (16th), Szarwark (18th) and UNC’s Courtney Krolilowski (23rd).

MEN’S EPEE – Howard earned the #15 seed (8-6 in pools) and upset Harvard’s Philip Sherill (#2 seed) in a battle of lefthanders (15-13) .. that bout was tied 8 times, including 4-4 at the end of the 1st period … Howard then led 10-9 after the 2nd period, followed by a double touch, a Lindblom point and another double touch (12-12) … Howard won the next two points and answered the next touch (15-13) with the clinching point … he faced another Harvard fencer in the quarterfinals but lost a 15-11 bout to #7 seed Ian Lindblom … Howard trailed 5-1 after the 1st period and was behind 10-3 before scoring 4 straight touches, followed by a double and the 2nd break (12-8; Lindblom then stretched to a 14-9 cushion) … Sobieraj was the #9 seed (10-5 in pools) but lost in the round of 16 to yet another Harvard fencer, #8 seed Benjamin Ungar (15-10) … that bout was 4-4 at the 1st break but Ungar ran out to an 11-7 lead at the next break, followed by a pair of double touches (13-9) en route to the win … Adjemian (#12 seed, 11-4 in pools) jumped out to a 4-1 lead on #5 seed Julian Rose (also of Harvard) but Rose forged a 6-6 tie and led 11-8 before Adjemian closed to 12-11 (Rose then scored the final 4 touches) … Gettings (7-7) reached the 3rd round of pools while Laeuchli (6-4) was eliminated in the 2nd … ND (3) joined Harvard (4) and Princeton (3) as teams with more than two fencers among the top-14 … the 68-fencer field included 7 competitors from the ’04 NCAAs, plus Princeton’s Soren Thompson (a former All-American who did not compete in the ’04 NCAA season while training for the Olympics) … other competitors of note included: Sobieraj (3rd at ’04 NCAAs), WSU’s Marek Petraszek (7th), RU’s Jason Henderson (8th), Drew’s Dana Sanford (9th), WSU’s Wojciech Dudek (12th), Rose (17th) and Princeton’s Ben Solomon (21st) … Sobieraj was runner-up to former teammate Jan Viviani at the ’01 PSU Open before finishing 9th in ’02 and outside the top-16 in ’03.

WOMEN’S SABRE – Providenza was the #3 seed (13-2 in pools) and then defeated Yale’s Carly Guss (#14 seed, 15-5) before besting PSU’s Ashley Gin Fong Linker in the quarterfinals … she followed with a semifinal win over Harvard’s Carolyn Wright and bested OSU’s Siobhan Byrne in the 15-10 final … the final bout was tied (5-5) before Providenza rolled off 3 straight points for an 8-5 lead at the 1st break (she then stretched to 11-5 and answered 3 straight points by Byrne with 3 more of her own, for a 14-8 edge) … Vincent was the #7 seed (12-2 in pools) but lost a 15-14 battle with #10 seed Laura Hillstrom of PSU … Davis (#13 seed, 9-5 in pools) lost to the #4 seed Byrne in the round of 16 … ND and PSU (both with 13) had the most finishers among the top-13 … the 56-fencer field included a handful of fencers who competed at the ’04 NCAAs: Providenza (1st at ’04 NCAAs), PSU’s Sophia Hiss (2nd), Penn’s Katelyn Sherry (5th) and Vincent.

MEN’S SABRE – Ghattas, who did not compete in the ’04 PSU Open due to the World Cup conflict, was the #3 seed (15-0 in pools) beat NCAA Tournament veteran Wesley Newkirk (#14 seed) of UNC in the round of 16 (15-9) before winning a close bout vs. another familiar foe, Ben Igoe of Rutgers (15-13) … PSU’s Franz Boghichev then edged Ghattas in a 15-12 semifinal while OSU All-American and ’04 Olympian Jason Rogers beat Ghattas in a controversial third-place bout (15-12) … Ghattas held a 4-0 lead vs. Rogers and later led 7-3 when an apparent miscall by the referee prevented Ghattas from claiming an 8-3 lead at the break (Rogers instead made a run for an 8-7 score) … Rogers won the next point and later stretched to 12-9 (Ghattas battled back to 12-13 but Rogers closed it out) … Stearns (#5 seed, 11-4 in pools) battled #12 seed Jason Paul of Ohio State in a 15-14 thriller before injuring his leg while losing to Rogers in the quarterfinals (15-7) … Espinosa went 5-7 in the pools while Diacou was 1-4 … OSU’s Adam Crompton beat PSU’s Frank Boghichev in the final … ND and OSU both had a pair of finishers in the top-6 … the tough field included 10 competitors from the ’04 NCAAs (plus Rogers: Crompton (1st in ’04 NCAAs), Igoe (3rd), PSU’s Marten Zagunis (4th) and Ian Farr (5th), Paul (9th), Ghattas (10th), Harvard’s David Jakus (12th), Stearns (14th), Haverford’s Christian Flanders (15th) and Newkirk (22nd) … Stearns beat Newkirk at the ’03 PSU Open (15-9, in round-of-16) before losing to Zagunis in the semifinals (11-15) and Igoe in the 3rd-place bout (9-15) … Zagunis is the older brother of current ND freshman women’s sabre Mariel Zagunis.