March 21, 2013
SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Members of the University of Notre Dame's men's fencing team opened the 2013 NCAA Championship Thursday at the Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio, Texas. Notre Dame finished the day tied for third place with Harvard after each team earned 50 points.
Foilist Gerek Meinhardt notched a 15-0 record with a +48 indicator to claim the weapon lead heading into day two, while sabreur Kevin Hassett logged a 9-6 record with a +11 indicator as part of Notre Dame's 50-40 cumulative performance on the strip.
Fencing in pools of four, Meinhardt and foil teammate Ariel DeSmet began the meet facing off against other before battling opponents from Ohio State, St. John's and Harvard. DeSmet won six of his final eight bouts to finish in ninth place at the end of day one with a 9-6 record. Meinhardt out-dueled second-place finisher Michael Dudey (Princeton) 5-1, and beat defending national champion Zain Shaito (Ohio State) 5-4 as part of his undefeated bout record.
Epeeists Michael Rossi and Garrett McGrath faced stiff competition almost immediately as bouts in the second weapon class began. Teams from Princeton, Ohio State and the Air Force Academy all challenged the epee duo in the first round of pool play. McGrath and Rossi posted a combined record of 4-9, but improved at the end of the day to finish 10-19.
McGrath upset Marco Canevari of Ohio State 5-4, while Rossi had a memorable 1-0 overtime win against Canevari's teammate Daniel Tafoya. McGrath's other first round victory came at the expense of defending NCAA champion Jonathan Yergler (Princeton), 5-3.
Moving into the second round, McGrath went 3-1, including a win against Adam Watson of St. John's 5-2 in his second bout of the round. Rossi posted a 1-3 record, with the lone victory coming against MIT's Joseph Rafidi, to up his record to 3-7 heading into the third round. Rossi ultimately finished the day 4-11.
In men's sabre, freshman John Hallsten went 5-2 in the first round, while junior Kevin Hassett posted a 6-1 record to open his NCAA Championship. Hassett's lone defeat came at the hands of Harvard's Alexander Ryjik, 5-3. Both Hassett and Hallsten swept 2012 semi-finalist Max Stearns of Ohio State.
Hallsten finished the day 7-8, with a -6 indicator to claim 16th place after three rounds. Hassett enters day two in seventh place.
The final day of men's competition at the NCAA Championship begins Friday at 9 a.m. An awards ceremony to recognize weapon champions will be held at the end of the men's championship bouts.
Live bout results can be viewed the remainder of the weekend at www.escrimeresults.com.