Mar. 23, 1997

Irish Finish Second; Krol Wins Individual Title

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The University of Notre Dame fencing team finished second at the NCAA combined national championships as Penn State won its third straight NCAA championship. The Irish battled back from 130 points down to finish 60 points behind the first place Nittany Lions. Penn State had 1,530 points, while Notre Dame finished with 1,470 points. St. John's and Stanford tied for third with 1,120 points. The last day of competiton saw the finals in women's epee and foil.

The championships were a four-day team event that concluded today. Twenty-four fencers in each weapon, all of whom competed in a round-robin competition in their weapon. Each team was awarded 10 points for every bout their fencers won. At the end of each round-robin, the top four finishers were placed in a single-elimination tournament. This tournament decided the NCAA champion of each weapon; there were no team points awarded in these matches.

The women's 1997 epee championship was won by Notre Dame freshman Magda Krol. In the final round, Krol defeated 1996 champion Nicole Dygert of St. John's 15-14. Krol finished the championships with a 20-5 record. Krol was also voted Outstanding Women's Epeeist; the award is voted on by all of the women epeeists at the event. Women's epee team captain, Anne Hoos, placed 15th overall and posted an 11-12 record.

The women's foilists of Notre Dame totaled 35 victories. Sara Walsh gained first team All-American honors and placed second for the second consecutive year. Walsh finished the competition with a 20-5 record. Myriah Brown posted a 16-7 record at the championships. Brown placed fifth and earned second team All-American honors for the second straight year. Yelena Kalkina of Ohio State won the women's 1997 foil championship.

"We were down and they never gave up," said Notre Dame head coach Yves Auriol. "We would've liked to win the championships, but you can't make mistakes when you're up against Penn State.

"I am very proud of this team, they gave their all. It is just tough to come close and not reach our goal."

This is the second year in a row that Notre Dame has placed second at the NCAA combined fencing championships. At last year's championships, the Irish had six All-Americans - sabreman Bill Lester and Luke LaValle, men's foilist Jeremy Siek, Krol in women's epee and Walsh and Brown in women's foil.

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