Mar. 8, 1997

Strong Showing for Irish Fencers at Midwestern Regional Championships

DETROIT – The Notre Dame fencing team sent 13 team membersto Wayne State for the Midwestern Regional Championships. Theregional championships provide Notre Dame the opportunity to bettertheir chances of sending the maximum 10 fencers to the nationalchampionships. The Irish were able to advance all of theircompetitors to each weapon’s final round of 12.

In the women’s foil qualifier Notre Dame captain Rose Saari placedeighth and Nicole Paulina finished sixth. Myriah Brown, who placedsecond at last year’s competition, finished fourth. Last year’s topfinisher, Sara Walsh garnered a tie for first place. Walsh had tocompete in a fence off with Patricia Szelle of Ohio State. In acontroversial finish, Walsh was issued a red card and Szelle wasconsequently awarded victory and title of champion by a 5-4 score.

In women’s epee Monika Scherman of Ohio State took first place,while Notre Dame freshman Magda Krol placed second. Coming in thirdfor the second consecutive year was epee captain Anne Hoos. NicoleMustilli placed seventh and Colleen Smerek came in 10th for the Irish. Smerek had placed fifth in the 1995 competition.

The men’s foil team was led by captain Jeremy Siek and StephanieAuriol. They placed first and second respectively. Siek regains thetitle of Midwestern Men’s Foil Champion, he won the event in 1994 and1995, while placing second in 1996. By comin in second, Auriolimproved on last year’s eighth place finish. Freshman Charles Hayesearned the fifth spot in the event.

Three Notre Dame sabremen gained first place in the men’s sabrequalifier. Captain Bill Lester, 1996 champion Luke LaValle and seniorJeffrey Wartgow competed in a three way fence off for the top spot. In the fence off, LaValle reclaimed the championship. Bill Lester,who won the event in 1994, placed second. Lester had placed second in1995 and third in 1997. Wartgow, in his first regional qualifier,took the third place.

In men’s epee, Carl Jackson and Wayne State’s HenrikasValtkevicius tied for first place. Both epeeists participated in afence off. Valtkevicius won the fence off 5-2. Jackson had come insecond for the Irish in 1995. Brian Stone came in third and BriceDille placed 12th for Notre Dame. Stone had previously placed sixthand 13th at the Midwest regionals. Dille came in fourth in lastyear’s regional.

Notre Dame fencers Walsh, Brown, Krol, Hoos, Siek, Auriol, Lester,LaValle, Jackson and Stone are likely to head to the nationalchampionship, but they await Thursday’s final decision from the NCAAselection committee.