Gerek Meinhardt: A Transformative Athlete for the Ages

Notre Dame's two-time NCAA foil champion and two-time Olympian has left a profound impact on American fencing, at three fundamental levels.


Notre Dame Fencing: 2011 National Champions

Notre Dame Fencing: 2011 National Champions


2011 NCAA Fencing Championships Semifinal and Final Bouts

A look at Ariel DeSmet and Avery Zuck's semifinal and final bouts on Friday, March 25.

AS A SENIOR: Named team captain of the foil squad for the second consecutive year ... finished final campaign with a record of 16-8 to finish with 130 career victories with the Irish ... named member of honorable mention all-MFC team ... earned fourth monogram ... opened the year with a 4-4 record at the NYU Invitational, going a perfect 2-0 against Columbia ... finished 5-2 at the St. John's Challenge ... clinched the foil victory over Penn State with his 5-2 win over NCAA competitor David Willette ... won lone bout at the Notre Dame Duals, defeating Air Force's Daniel Cohen, 5-0, to give the Irish a 7-2 victory in the foil ... posted three wins at the Northwestern Duals ... clinched the foil victory over North Carolina with a 5-1 triumph over Jeeho Kim ... ended regular season with a perfect 3-0 mark at the Irish Duals ... finished ninth at the Midwest Fencing Conference Championships individually while helping the foil squad win the team title ... recipient of the Walter M. Langford Memorial Award.

AS A JUNIOR: Completed his junior campaign at 39-9 and finished seventh at the Midwest Fencing Conference Championships ... started the season with a 7-5 record at the NYU Invitational, posting a perfect 3-0 record against NYU ... totaled a 5-3 record at the St. John's Challenge, clinching a 5-3 win over Penn State's Daniel Gomez and posting a 2-0 record to help the Irish take down Columbia ... dominated at the Northwestern Duals with a 16-1 record, posting perfect 3-0 records against Detroit, Lawrence and Wayne State ... aided the Irish with a clinching win versus Detroit ... tallied an impressive 10-0 record at the Notre Dame Duals to complete the regular season, downing Michigan, Michigan State, Illinois, Chicago, Cleveland State, Purdue and Detroit with perfect records ... earned seventh at the Midwest Fencing Conference Championships after being knocked out in the round of 8 (earning a bye and defeating Chicago's Noah Epstein, Michigan State's Zack Girouard, and Detroit's Michael Purdy-Sachs prior to elimination) ... took fifth at the NCAA Midwest Regionals defeating Ohio State's Joe Doherty 15-12 and Cleveland State's Liran Gross 15-8 ... named the recipient of both the Christopher Zorich and John Crikelair Awards.

AS A SOPHOMORE: Finished the regular season with a 28-9 record ... opened the year with a 3-0 record at the NYU Invitational ... also earned his 50th career win at the St. John's Duals ... led the Irish men's foil team with a 10-4 record at the NYU Invitational ... in Notre Dame's come-from-behind win over Ohio State at the NYU Invitational, gave the Irish the lead for good with a 5-4 win over Colin Sutter ... went 9-2 at the Northwestern Duals, including a 3-0 mark versus Northwestern and a 2-0 record versus Wayne State ... finished 5-4 at the Duke Duals ... his run to the semifinals in the Midwest Conference Championships earned him first-team all-conference honors ... entered the direct elimination round of the championships seeded first overall, which earned him a first round bye ... then defeated Eduard Chavez of Case Western, 15-1, in the round of 64 and Wayne State's Michael Ramlow, 15-4, in the round of 32 ... knocked off Ohio State's Colin Sutter, 15-7 in the round of 16 and teammate, Mark Kubik ,15-11, in the quarterfinals to advance to the semifinals, where he fell to teammate Enzo Castellani, 15-8.

AS A FRESHMAN: An 11th-place finisher at the NCAA Championships, earning third-team All-America honors ... posted 12 wins at the NCAAs, including wins over Columbia's Sheriff Farrag and Ben Parkins of Ohio State ... finished as the runner-up at NCAA Midwest Regionals ... went 5-1 in pool play at regionals, including a 5-2 win over Irish teammate Jakub Jedrkowiak ... earned the third seed in direct elimination ... advanced to final with wins over Detroit's Jamie Gawecki (15-5) and Jedrkowiak (15-11) ... then beat Jedrkowiak, 15-13, and teammate Steve Kubik, 15-12, in the semifinals ... downed in the final by Ohio State's Andras Horanyi, 15-14 ... posted an overall record of 47-11 (.810) in regular season bouts ... his 47 wins were the most on the foil squad ... went 14-0 at the Notre Dame Duals, helping the men's foilists to a 70-20 mark at the event ... posted an 8-4 record at the Northwestern Duals ... went 10-2 at the NYU Duals ... opened his collegiate dual-season career with a 8-3 mark at Air Force's Western Invite ... had impressive runner-up finish at Penn State Open in fall of 2007, with dramatic quarterfinal win over Penn State's Alex Salsman (15-14) and 15-13 semifinal with Yale's Nate Botwinick before losing 6-15 final to Ohio State's Andras Horanyi ('07 NCAA champ).

PREP & PERSONAL: Started fencing at age five, at the Rochester Fencing Center (which remains his training club) ... coached by Dr. Nat Goodhartz (a 2007 inductee into the USFA Fencing Hall of Fame) ... entered first national competition as nine year-old, placing 14th at U-10 North American Cup in South Bend, Ind. ... finished sixth overall in USFA's 2006-07 point standings for U.S. Junior National Team ... competed in several 2006-07 international tournaments: 28th in Madrid, Spain; 25th in Aix-En-Provence, France; and 55th in Come, Italy (also fenced at event in Modling, Austria) ... placed 14th at 2006 U-20 Summer Nationals (also 29th in overall men's foil bouts at that event) ... his other 2006-07 national events included third-place finish at Jr. Olympics (Columbus, Ohio), 10th in overall foil standings at North American Cup (N.A.C.) in Richmond Va., and 13th in U-20 bouting at N.A.C. in Albuquerque N.M. ... placed seventh overall at 2005-06 USFA Nationals (Atlanta), also finishing 19th overall at 2006 Summer Nationals, third at 2006 Jr. Olympics (Hartford, Conn.) and 16th overall at N.A.C. in Houston ... his 2004-05 results included taking third at D-1A Nationals (Sacramento, Calif.) and being member of third-place foil team at 2005 Summer Nationals (also in Sacramento) ... placed 14th at the 2005 Cadet (U-17) World Cup in Samaria, Slovakia ... was runner-up in D-2 bouting at 2004 N.A.C. in Overland Park, Kan. ... attended fencing camps at Westchester Fencing Club and the Northwest Fencing Center ... competed in youth soccer, baseball and basketball before concentrating on fencing ... graduated from Greece Athena High School, where his classmates included former Notre Dame baseball player Brian Dupra (one of the nation's top-rated pitching prospects in 2007) ... received the Presidential Award for Outstanding Academic Excellence ... member of National Honor Society ... served as treasurer of Future Business Leaders of America at GAHS ... graduated with 3.92 cumulative GPA ... volunteered as youth counselor at sports Bible camp in Penfield, N.Y. ... his sister, Alli Marie, was a five-time national epee champion, Jr. Olympic champ and member of 2002 U.S. Junior (U-20) and Cadet (U-17) National Teams ... his cousin, Chris Trick ('06), was recent hockey defenseman at Notre Dame while another cousin, James Russell, was All-America baseball pitcher at Villanova ... son of Charles and Jodi Schirtz ... full name is Zachary William Schirtz ... born November 2, 1988, in Rochester, N.Y. ... enrolled in the Mendoza College of Business as a marketing major.

Schirtz's Career Record

Year W L Pct. NCAA Finish
2008 47 11 .810 11th
2009 28 9 .757 --
2010 39 9 .813 --
2011 16 8 .667 --
Career 130 37 .778 --

Zach Schirtz
Zach  Schirtz


Rochester, NY

High School:
Greece Athena

Height / Weight:
6-5 / 200



Rochester Fencing Club

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