2007 NCAA Fencing Championships, day-2 of men's competition (Madison, NJ). Photos by Chris Pedota.
Notre Dame's 2007-08 fencing team will experience the added benefit of having one of the top sabre fencers in the program back on campus as an intern assistant coach, as Patrick Ghattas ('07) has returned to lend his insights to the young team. Ghattas will combine with head coach Janusz Bednarski in providing Notre Dame's sabre fencers with valuable technical and tactical instruction.
Ghattas was a key member of Notre Dame's 2005 NCAA championship team and concluded his stellar career in 2007 as a rare four-year All-American, placing 10th in the 2004 NCAAs before reaching the NCAA title bout in each of his final three seasons. He became only the fourth Notre Dame men's sabre fencer to be a four-year All-American and the first since Luke LaValle in the late 1990s.
A recent contender for U.S. National Team duty, Ghattas appeared in several tournaments with the U.S. Junior National Team and won the 2004 Junior Olympic title. He is a leading member of Notre Dame's "Portland Pipeline," as a product of the Oregon Fencing Alliance elite sabre academy.
Ghattas - known for his tremendous technical ability, high workrate and a "virtuoso" technique (in the words of Bednarski) - is one of only three Notre Dame fencers ever to reach an NCAA title bout three or more times, joining sabreist Mike Sullivan and foilist Alicja Kryczalo in that distinction. He is one of six Notre Dame men's fencers ever to reach the NCAA medal round (final four) three-plus times and his 69-23 career record in the NCAA round-robin ranks third all-time in the program's history, behind Sullivan and foilist Ozren Debic .
Despite missing several collegiate tournaments during his career (due to World Cup conflicts), Ghattas still finished with 160 regular-season wins over his four seasons - good for fifth-best all-time among Notre Dame men's sabreists.
He was one of four men's sabre fencers to represent the United States at the 2005 World Junior Championships in Linz, Austria. His teammates on that elite squad included Luther Clement of St. John's, Ben Igoe of Rutgers (who Ghattas beat in the 2007 NCAA semifinal) and Penn State's Matt Zich.
Ghattas made his first run at the NCAA title in 2005, after placing fourth in the round-robin (18-5) before beating PSU's Franz Boghicev in a 15-10 semifinal and dropping the 15-12 final to SJU's Sergey Isayenko. One year later, Ghattas had the top round-robin record at the 2006 NCAAs (20-3) and beat Jason Rogers in the semifinals (15-13) before losing a 15-9 final to his Ohio State teammate Adam Crompton. Ghattas then was third in the 2007 NCAA round-robin (18-5), followed by a 15-12 semifinal versus Igoe and a heartbreaking 15-14 loss to Harvard's Tim Hagamen in the title bout.