UND Roster

2017-18 Fencing Roster

Francesca Russo


Height 5'6''
Class Senior
Hometown Wayne, NJ
High School Wayne Valley


  • 2015, 2017 NCAA Women’s Sabre Champion
  • 2016 NCAA Championship Women’s Sabre Sixth Place
  • 2015, 2017 First Team All-American
  • 2016 Second Team All-AMerican
  • 2017 NCAA Midwest Regional Women’s Sabre Champion
  • 2015, 2016 NCAA Midwest Regional Championship Women’s Sabre Runner-Up
  • 2017 ACC Women’s Sabre Champion
  • 2016 ACC Championship Women’s Sabre Fourth Place
  • 2015 ACC Championship Women’s Sabre Fifth Place
  • 2015 ACC All-Academic Team
  • 2016 ACC Fencer of the Week (Feb. 3, 2016)
  • 2017 Notre Dame Most Valuable Sabreuse
  • 2017 ACC Women’s Fencer of the Year for Sabre


  • Posted a season record of 43-13 through five contests
  • Opened the season on a 8-1 run at the Elite Invitational
  • Went on to post a 9-2 record at the St. John’s Invitational
  • Finished the regular-season with a 13-5 outting at the Northwestern Duals
  • Wrapped the season at the ACC Championships, posting a 7-2 record


  • Captured second career NCAA Championship title in women’s sabre, defeating Teodora Kakhiani (Penn State) 15-14 in a thrilling title bout
  • Earned the top seed in the tournament, going 20-3 in pool play
  • Snared first career regional title with the crown at the NCAA Midwest Regional
  • Also earned first career conference title with a dominating performance at the ACC Championship
  • Went undefeated during pool play at ACCs and won easily over Diana Philpot (UNC, 15-3 semi) and Lindsay Sapienza (Duke, 15-7 final)
  • Went 37-16 during the dual season
  • Ended the season ranked sixth in career sabre wins (since 2000) with a 144-36 record
  • Named the team’s most valuable sabreuse
  • Also named ACC Women’s Fencer of the Year for Sabre
  • Earned a monogram


  • Became a two-time All-American, taking Second Team honors with her sixth-place finish in women’s sabre at the NCAA Championships  
  • Went 8-2 during pool play at the NCAA Midwest Regional to take runner-up honors
  • Placed fourth during individual play at the ACC Championships  
  • Went a perfect 8-0 during team play at the ACC Championships to help the Irish capture their second straight conference title
  • Went 54-7 (.885) during dual play during the season, good for seventh place on the sabre single-season wins list and win percentage list in program history  
  • Kicked off the season with a 12-1 mark at the Penn Elite Invitational  
  • Went 4-0 on the first day of the DeCicco Duals
  • Posted a 19-2 record over two days at the Northwestern Duals, after which she was named the ACC Female Fencer of the Week  
  • Wrapped the regular season with an 11-4 mark at the Duke Duals  
  • Earned a monogram


  • Became the first sabreur since 2008 to win the NCAA women’s sabre title as a freshman, competing as one of five freshmen for the Irish at the NCAA Championship meet  
  • Had the best individual record of any women’s sabreuse with 53-13 mark her first season  
  • Helped the Irish capture the ACC Championship women’s team title, finishing fifth by touches scored in individual competition  
  • Earned a 12-1 record at the Ohio State Elite Cup, 10-4 record at St. John’s, 11-1 mark at the NYU Invite and 12-6 log at the Northwestern Duals  
  • Honored as ACC Women’s Fencer of the Week  
  • At ACC Championships, women’s team won the first ever women’s team title
  • Individually, logged a matching 12-3 record with teammates Claudia Kulmacz and Jamie Norville in pool play, but did not advance to the semifinals
  • At NCAA Midwest Regional, finished second with a 10-2 record, automatically qualifying for NCAAs
  • At NCAA Championships, finished pool play with a 15-8 record, which earned her the No. 4 seed heading into the semifinals
  • Beat defending NCAA Champion Adrienne Jarocki of Harvard 15-12 and easily outscored Karen Chang of Penn State 15-6 to claim her first NCAA title with the Irish
  • Awarded first team All-American honors and received a monogram.


  • Competed with fellow Irish teammate Paul Cepak at Bergen Fencing Club in addition to prep team
  • Won New Jersey state title all four years in women’s sabre  
  • As a freshman, named to cadet and junior United States Fencing Association (USFA) teams
  • Took third at Cadet World Championships in Moscow, Russia in sophomore season .
  • As a junior won team event at Junior World Championships in Porec, Croatia
  • Competed as a senior with Junior world team at Plovdiv, Bulgaria
  • Placed in top 16 at Senior World Cup in Ghent, Belgium, and won Junior and Division I competitions at Summer Nationals  
  • Biggest athletic thrill to date remains winning world championships with team in 2013
  • Graduated from Wayne Valley in June of 2014  
  • Voted fencer of the year freshman through senior year on prep team
  • Middle child of Roberto and Caterina Russo  
  • Has one younger brother, Gianluca, and an older sister, Jessica
  • Hails from Wayne, New Jersey
  • Enrolled in the Mendoza College of Business