March 12, 2016

Photo Gallery

By Joanne Norell

COLUMBUS, Ohio – For the second straight year, the University of Notre Dame fencing program looks poised to send the maximum number of 12 fencers to the NCAA Championships, finishing competition at Saturday’s NCAA Midwest Regional at French Field House with three regional titles and strong showings across the board.

The No. 1 Irish women and No. 3 Irish men combined for six total medals, while the top two finishers per weapon positioned themselves to advance to compete for an NCAA title March 24-27 at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, pending the outcome of the other regionals.

The Irish women boasted regional champions in epee and foil, as reigning Atlantic Coast Conference Champions senior Catherine Lee and freshman Sabrina Massialas turned in outstanding days. Lee went 6-3 in the foil field while Massialas was an outstanding 16-1 in foil. Also medaling for the Irish was sophomore sabreuse Francesca Russo, who went 8-2 on the day to finish second in the sabre field.

Senior foilist Nicole McKee also posted her best career regional finish, nabbing fourth place with a 14-3 record. She was followed by sophomores Elyssa Kleiner (8th, 10-7), Erin Dietsche (11th, 6-11) and Zoe Loh (13th, 6-11). In epee, freshman Madeline Antekeier finished seventh with a 5-4 record, while classmate Tara Hassett came in fifth in sabre a 7-3.

On the men’s side, freshman Axel Kiefer was perfect in grabbing the foil crown, going 11-0 on the day, while sophomore Virgile Collineau snared bronze after going 9-2. Senior Kristjan Archer also competed in foil for the Irish, finishing fifth after going 7-4.

Senior Garrett McGrath medaled in epee, claiming silver with a 10-2 record, while freshman Darius Zacharakis (7-5) came in fifth. Freshman Dylan French was also 7-5 but finished seventh, while sophomore Nicholas Hanahan (5-7) finished ninth.

Sophomore Jonathan Fitzgerald rounded out the Irish medal count, finishing second in sabre, going 7-2. Classmate Jonah Shainberg claimed fourth with a 6-3 mark, and senior John Hallsten (5-4) came in sixth.

The Irish will receive confirmation of their NCAA qualifiers from the NCAA men’s and women’s fencing committee early next week.

NCAA Midwest Regional
March 12, 2016
French Field House
Columbus, Ohio
Women’s Epee
1. Catherine Lee (6-3)
7. Madeline Antekeier (5-4)
Women’s Foil
1. Sabrina Masialas (16-1)
4. Nicole McKee (14-3)
8. Elyssa Kleiner (10-7)
11. Erin Dietsche (6-11)
13. Zoe Loh (6-11)
Women’s Sabre
2. Francesca Russo (8-2)
5. Tara Hassett (7-3)
Men’s Epee
2. Garrett McGrath (10-2)
5. Darius Zacharakis (7-5)
7. Dylan French (7-5)
9. Nicholas Hanahan (5-7)
Men’s Foil
1. Axel Kiefer (11-0)
3. Virgile Collineau (9-2)
5. Kristjan Archer (7-4)
Men’s Sabre
2. Jonathan Fitzgerald (7-2)
4. Jonah Shainberg (6-3)
6. John Hallsten (5-4)

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Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2014 and coordinates communications efforts for the Notre Dame women’s soccer, men’s tennis, women’s tennis and fencing programs. Norell is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University and earned her master’s degree from Georgetown University in 2013.