March 5, 2004

The annual Midwest Fencing Conference Championships return to Notre Dame’s Joyce Center Fieldhouse this weekend, with the top contenders again expected to be the host Irish, growing rival Ohio State, the Northwestern women’s squad and the Wayne State men and women (most notably in epee).

The Notre Dame fencing program again will provide “live stats” of the tournament at (postings will include team round-by-round scores and final individual standings). Check back to throughout the weekend for additional information and recaps on the 2004 MFCs.

Saturday’s action (March 6) begins at 8:00 a.m. with the preliminary rounds of the team competition, contested in each of the six weapons (men’s and women’s foil, epee and sabre). The marquee matchups are projected to be in the semifinal and final rounds, which likely will take place in the late morning and early afternoon.

Sunday’s individual competition also begins at 8:00, with the final round again expected to take place in the early afternoon.

Four of the six individual champions are set to defend their titles this weekend, including Notre Dame junior foilist Alicja Kryczalo (the ’02 and ’03 NCAA champ), Wayne State epeeists Anna Vinnikov and Wojciech Dudek, and Ohio State sabre Louise Bond-Williams (the ’02 NCAA runner-up). The other ’03 champions included Notre Dame men’s foilist Ozren Debic (an ’03 graduate) and OSU sabre Jason Rogers, who is not fencing with the Buckeyes this year as he prepares for Olympic qualifying.

Five other Notre Dame fencers were runner-ups at the 2003 MFCs: current junior foilists Andrea Ament and Derek Snyder, current senior women’s epeeist Kerry Walton and 2003 graduate Jan Viviani (men’s epee) and Gabor Szelle (men’s sabre). Walton – the 2002 NCAA champ – will not compete in the 2004 MFCs due to a conflict with an international competition.

Other top fencers to watch at the 2004 MFCs include: ND junior epeeist Michal Sobieraj (the ’03 NCAA runner-up), fifth-year foilist Forest Walton (a ’01 All-American), recent Junior Olympic sabre champions Patrick Ghattas and Valerie Providenza, and freshman epeeist Amy Orlando; OSU sophomore sabre Adam Crompton (the ’03 NCAA champ and brother of former ND fencer Andre Crompton), senior All-America sabre Colin Parker, three-time epee All-American Alexandra Shklar, junior twin foilists and two-time All-Americans Hanna and Metta Thompson, and top newcomers Denis Tolkachev (epee) and Boaz Ellis (foil); and Northwestern fencers such as foil All-American Julia Foldi, foilist Christina Wang, epeeist Sharron Sullivan, and sabres Emily Pasternak and Lauren Van Gieson.

Here is how the brackets project Notre Dame’s key matchups, by weapon:

* Women’s Foil -likely to face Northwestern in semifinal, with winner likely facing Ohio State in final

* Men’s Foil – likely to face OSU in semifinal

* Women’s Epee – likely to face OSU in quarterfinal, with winner advancing to likely face NU in semifinal (then Wayne State in final)

* Men’s Epee – likely would face Wayne State in semifinal, with winner likely meeting OSU in final

* Women’s Sabre – likely to face the OSU/NU semifinal winner in final

* Men’s Sabre – likely to face toughest matchup vs. OSU in semifinal

The Ohio State men edged Notre Dame to claim the 2003 MFC team title while the Notre Dame women held off Northwestern to take home the 2003 MFC women’s trophy.