Mar. 21, 1997

Notre Dame in Second Place at Championships

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The University of Notre Dame fencing team moved up from fourth place to second place after the second day of the NCAA combined championships. Notre Dame has compiled 710 points. The Irish trail two-time defending NCAA champions Penn State. The Nittany Lions are in first place with 890 points. Stanford is in third place with 670 points. On the second day of competition the championships in the men’s epee and foil were completed, while the first five rounds of men’s sabre were contested.

The Championships are a four day team event that will conclude on Sunday, March 23. There are 24 fencers in each weapon, all of whom compete in a round-robin competition in their weapon. Each team is awarded ten points for every bout their fencers win. At the end of each round-robin, the top four finishers are placed in a single elimination tournament. This tournament decides the NCAA Championship of each weapon; there are no team points award in these matches.

Notre Dame epeeist Brian Stone finished the championships with a 12-11 record, this placed him 13th overall. Stone defeated the 1996 Olympic alternate and 1997 NCAA third place finisher Sean McClain of Stanford, 5-3. Stone’s fellow epeeist, Carl Jackson finished 19th with a 9-14 record. Notre Dame was able to gain 210 points from the 21 victories captured by Stone and Jackson. The 1997 NCAA champion for men’s epee was Alden Clarke of Stanford.

In men’s foil, captain Jeremy Siek finished sixth in the NCAA championships posting a 17-6 record. By finishing sixth, Siek gains All-American honors for the fourth time in his career. Siek defeated four of the five foilists who finished ahead of him. Sophomore foilist Stephane Auriol finished the championships with a 9-14 record. This placed Auriol 16th for the competition. Auriol and Siek went 3-1 in their head-to-head competition with Penn State. The 1997 men’s foil championship was won by Cliff Bayer of the University of Pennsylvania.

Notre Dame sabreman Bill Lester and Luke LaValle combined for 24 victories. Lester, the senior captain, went undefeated with a 14-0 mark. Lester, who is in first place after the first five rounds, battled back from a 4-0 deficit to defeat St. John’s Keeth Smart. LaValle is in sixth place with a 10-4 record.

“We had a good day today,” said Notre Dame head coach Yves Auriol. “The men’s foil team fenced well and the sabre team had a good day. We are still behind, but we had a solid day and there are two days left.”

On Saturday, the third day of the event, the men’s sabre will finish and the women’s epee and foil will begin. The NCAA Championships will conclude on Sunday with the finals in women’s epee and foil.