Elite epeeist who again should contend for NCAA title after finishing as 2003 runner-up and taking third in `04 ... a top talent who was one touch away from the NCAA title as a sophomore, losing 9-8 bout in overtime ... combines a physical posture and angular 6-foot-2 frame with excellent technical ability and intelligent approach to his bouting ... member of Poland's men's epee team that placed 4th in Cuba at 2003 World Championships (behind Russia, Germany and Sweden), with his teammates including Adam Wiercioch (who fenced at Penn State) and Tomasz Motyka ... has the ability to be in the mix for Poland's 2008 Olympic team ... on verge of joining group of 21 previous ND student-athletes who have been four-year All-Americans (he also was 10th in `02) ... those four-year All-Americans include eight men's fencers, four women's fencers, three women's soccer players, four distance runners, a men's basketball player and a baseball pitcher ... was listed 266th in overall world rankings (all age groups) prior to finishing 118th at 2003 World Championships ... underwent period of adjustment to college fencing before helping lead Notre Dame to 2003 NCAA title ... emerging as team leader in final season with the Irish ... internationally-experienced fencer who is well-known sports figure in his hometown of Krakow, formerly the capital city and now Poland's fourth-largest city (located in southeast and renowned as a cultural center) ... looking to continue improving his strength and footwork ... tremendous athlete who utilizes great coordination for unorthodox style ... member of Poland's national team program since '97 ... combines size and speed with powerful, long reach ... a clever fencer, at his best when he controls his emotions ... joined classmate and women's foilist Alicja Kryczalo (Gdansk) as first natives of Poland known to monogram with any varsity team at Notre Dame ... 10th Notre Dame men's fencer to compete in NCAA title bout as a freshman or sophomore, joining former teammates Gabor Szelle and Ozren Debic as only ones to do so since '95 ... joined Bjorn Vaggo (`78 champion, as freshman) and Jubba Beshin (`90 champ, as sophomore) as third ND men's epeeist to compete in NCAA title bout as a freshman or sophomore ... enters 2005 with 111-8 career record in regular-season bouts (.933), best all-time among ND men's epeeists and 5th among all ND men's weapons - behind sabres Leszek Nowosielski (.980, 97-2 from `88-'91), Mike Sullivan (.979, 183-4 from `76-'79) and David Kirby (.943, 66-4 from `88-'92) and foilist Debic (.952, 157-8 from `00-'03) ... one of 25 all-time ND fencers (15 men) to compile three-plus All-America finishes (Tim Glass and Jan Viviani are the only other men's epeeists on that list) ... did not begin fencing until age of 13, after competing in basketball and soccer ... has traveled to 15 foreign countries for competitions ... recruited to Notre Dame by former assistant (current head coach) Janusz Bednarski, formerly Poland's Olympic coach ... fenced with 18th-place Poland men's epee team at '02 World Championships (Portugal) ... 12th at Penn State Open in fall of `04 (10-5 in pools).
AS A JUNIOR:Compiled 4th-best men's epee win pct. in ND history during `03-'04 regular season (.932, 41-3) before winning Midwest Fencing Conference title, taking 2nd at Midwest Regional and finishing 3rd at NCAAs ... received ND men's epee MVP award ... started 6-0 at Northwestern Duals, including 5-4 OT win over Matt Bouloubasis of Johns Hopkins ... went 2-1 in 14-13 win at Penn State, including 5-2 bout vs. Alex Bruscke that forced 13-13 tie ... 14-1 mark at NYU Duals included wins over Stanford's Martin Lee (4-3) and Columbia's Michael Yablon (5-1; for 13-11 lead in 14-13 win) ... strong showing at ND Duals (19-1) included 3-0 mark vs. Ohio State (5-4 bout vs. Spencer Jones clinched 15-12 win), 3-1 win over Air Force's Tim French and 5-1 vs. Duke's Nathan Bragg ... beat countryman Wojciech Dudek (Wayne State) in MFC team bouts and then won MFC title, besting Dudek in semifinal (15-11) and another Polish fencer (WSU's Marek Petraszek) in 15-9 final (after 6-6 tie) ... matched seed with 2nd-place Regional finish at Northwestern (8-3, behind Ohio State's Denis Tolkachev), with wins over Dudek (5-1) and Jones (5-4) ... stood 2nd after first day at NCAAs (11-3, at Brandeis), with top wins over Benjamin Bratton of St. John's (5-4), Princeton's Ben Solomon (5-3) and Harvard's Julian Rose (5-2) ... added 7-2 record on day-2 at NCAAs - including wins over his countryman Wiercioch of PSU (1-0), OSU's Jones (4-3) and AFA's Jason Stockdale (5-3) - en route to finishing tied for round-robin lead (18-5, earned 3rd seed) ... lost rematch vs. Bratton in NCAA semifinals (13-15), despite holding 8-5 lead (Bratton forged 9-9 tie before leading 13-11 and 14-12) ... avenged 5-1 round-robin loss by beating Tolkachev in 3rd-place bout (15-8; 2-2 before stretching to 9-4 and 14-6 leads) ... reached round-of-16 at PSU Open in fall of `03.
AS A SOPHOMORE:Validated status as one of world's top young fencers by placing first in NCAA round-robin before losing NCAA title bout in overtime ... racked up 44-4 record in regular season (.917, now 7th in ND men's epee history), followed by 9th-place MFC finish and runner-up at Midwest Regional ... pushed career record with the Irish to 37-1 with 11-0 start at OSU Duals, besting Brian Gross (5-0) and Jones (5-1) to help beat Buckeyes (16-11) ... posted 11-1 mark in first day at ND Duals, going 3-0 vs. PSU (5-4 over Ethan Muri in OT) to help Irish post 15-12 win and vault to No. 1 ranking ... lost 5-4 bout to Air Force's Seth Kelsey (a preview of the NCAA final) in first day of ND Duals, going 5-0 on second day (5-4 win over WSU's Dudek) ... 12-3 record at Duke Duals included 5-2 wins over Stanford's Ken Jung and Lee ... added 5-0 mark at MSU Duals ... placed 2nd at Midwest Regional (as top seed) ... faced NCAA field that included 11 returners from '02 (eight All-Americans) ... had major boost in NCAA win total (after 12 in '02), going 20-3 for top finish in round-robin (7-2 in one-touch bouts, 4-1 in OT) ... part of five-way logjam atop standings after first day (11-3) ... started just 5-3, with 3-2 OT win over Viviani and losses to AFA's Kelsey (2-5) and St. John's duo of Arpad Horvath (3-4, OT) and Anton Gurevich (4-5) ... won final six bouts on first day, including 4-3 over PSU's Wiercioch ... went 9-0 on second day, with 15-12 win over Wiercioch in semifinals and 8-7 OT loss to Kelsey in title bout ... 9th at PSU Open (fall '02).
AS A FRESHMAN:Sprinted to 26-1 start before missing five weeks with foot injury ... returned in fine fashion at Midwest Regional in Cleveland, matching top seed after winning 15 of 16 bouts ... rallied from subpar first day (6-8) at NCAAs by closing 6-3 to claim 10th place (12-11) and All-America honors, at Drew University ... top NCAA bouts included wins over PSU's Wiercioch and Stanford All-American Graham Allen (both 5-2) ... started 12-0 at NYU Duals - including decisive OT bout vs. Horvath (3-2) in showdown with SJU (14-13), with Horvath having OT "priority" ... went 14-1 at Air Force Duals ... won epee title at Northwestern Open (fall '01) before finishing 2nd to Viviani at PSU Open (field included defending NCAA champ Soren Thompson of Princeton) and taking 11th at North American Cup in Palm Springs, plus 3rd at NAC event in South Bend (quarterfinal win over AFA's Kelsey).
PREP & PERSONAL:Member of Poland's junior men's epee squad that won `98 and `99 World Championship (2nd in '00, `01) ... placed 3rd in junior epee at `98 World Championship (in Venezuela), finishing 20th in `99 (Hungary), 25th in '00 (South Bend), 17th in `01 (Gdansk, Poland) ... his coaches have included Eugeniusa Olesiah (`94-'97) and Ryczek Wojciech at Krakovia Fencing Club (`97-'01) ... son of Witoslaw and Jolanta Sobieraj ... full name is Michal Stefan Sobieraj ... born Sept. 9, 1981, in Krakow ... a management information systems major, enrolled in the Mendoza College of Business.
Notre Dame's 2005 men's epee squad includes: (kneeling, from left) Jesse Laeuchli, TJ McNally and Chris Castellan; (standing, from left) Aaron Adjemian, Greg Howard, Michal Sobieraj, Patrick Gettings and Craig Brede.