Mar. 8, 1997

Strong Showing for Irish Fencers at Midwestern Regional Championships

DETROIT - The Notre Dame fencing team sent 13 team members to Wayne State for the Midwestern Regional Championships. The regional championships provide Notre Dame the opportunity to better their chances of sending the maximum 10 fencers to the national championships. The Irish were able to advance all of their competitors to each weapon's final round of 12.

In the women's foil qualifier Notre Dame captain Rose Saari placed eighth and Nicole Paulina finished sixth. Myriah Brown, who placed second at last year's competition, finished fourth. Last year's top finisher, Sara Walsh garnered a tie for first place. Walsh had to compete in a fence off with Patricia Szelle of Ohio State. In a controversial finish, Walsh was issued a red card and Szelle was consequently 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 third for the second consecutive year was epee captain Anne Hoos. Nicole Mustilli 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 Stephanie Auriol. They placed first and second respectively. Siek regains the title of Midwestern Men's Foil Champion, he won the event in 1994 and 1995, while placing second in 1996. By comin in second, Auriol improved on last year's eighth place finish. Freshman Charles Hayes earned the fifth spot in the event.

Three Notre Dame sabremen gained first place in the men's sabre qualifier. Captain Bill Lester, 1996 champion Luke LaValle and senior Jeffrey 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 in 1995 and third in 1997. Wartgow, in his first regional qualifier, took the third place.

In men's epee, Carl Jackson and Wayne State's Henrikas Valtkevicius tied for first place. Both epeeists participated in a fence off. Valtkevicius won the fence off 5-2. Jackson had come in second for the Irish in 1995. Brian Stone came in third and Brice Dille placed 12th for Notre Dame. Stone had previously placed sixth and 13th at the Midwest regionals. Dille came in fourth in last year's regional.

Notre Dame fencers Walsh, Brown, Krol, Hoos, Siek, Auriol, Lester, LaValle, Jackson and Stone are likely to head to the national championship, but they await Thursday's final decision from the NCAA selection committee.

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