March 20, 1998

Notre Dame Remains In First After Second Day At NCAA Fencing Championships

NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Notre Dame's men's and women's fencing team continue to lead the field after the second of four days of competition at the NCAA men's and women's fencing championships at the Angela Athletic Facility in Notre Dame, Ind. The Irish lead the field with 89 points while three-time defending champion Penn State is second with 79 points and Stanford, which entered the day second, is third with 34. Columbia-Barnard is fourth with 58 and Yale fifth with 54.

The women's epee and foil national champions were crowned on Friday with Stanford's Felicia Zimmermann winning the women's foil crown and Penn State's Charlotte Walker winning the women's epee.

The women fenced the final three of eight rounds on Friday and concluded with the championship bouts featuring the top four in each weapon from the round robin competition. Cleveland State's Paolo Roselli leads the men's sabre competition after the first five of eight rounds. Men's epee and foil will begin on Saturday with rounds 1-5 and will conclude the championships on Sunday. Men's sabre will fence rounds 6-8 and the championship bouts on Saturday following the men's epee and foil.

The championship consists of 120 fencers in five weapons with teams receiving one point for each win in the 24 fencer round-robin competition in each weapon. The top four fencers in each weapon advance to the championship semifinal and final where the winner in each weapon will be determined. Wins in this portion of the competition do not count toward team standings.

Zimmermann and Notre Dame's Sara Walsh finished the round robin portion with identical 21-2 records while Columbia-Barnard's Erinn Smart was third at 20-3 and Susan Jennings fourth at 18-5. Zimmermann beat Jennings 15-2 and Smart beat Walsh 15-11 in the semifinals to set up the final, won 15-11 by Zimmermann, the first individual women's fencing title ever won by Stanford.

In women's epee, Walker finished 20-3, Notre Dame's Nicole Mustilli was second at 19-4, St. John's 1996 champion Nicole Dygert was 18-5 and Stanford's Jessica Lisagor was fourth at 17-6. In the championship semifinal, Walker beat Lisagor 13-11 when time expired and Dygert beat Mustilli 15-14 to set up the final, won 15-5 by Walker.

In the early portion of the men's sabre competition, Roselli leads with a 13-1 record. Columbia's Patrick Durkin, Penn State's Michael Takagi and Penn's Michael Golia all stand at 12-2.

Penn State is looking for its fourth straight NCAA fencing championship. Notre Dame, NCAA champions in 1994, is the last team to beat the Nittany Lions at the NCAA championships.

Champion Quotes

Felicia Zimmermann, Stanford
1998 NCAA Women's Foil Champion

On her 15-2 semifinal win over Columbia-Barnard's Susan Jennings: "On the surface its seems like it was an easy win but Susan is a teammate of mine from the club. It is also difficult to fence your teammate."

On her 15-12 championship bout win over Columbia-Barnard's Erinn Smart: "Erin is such a tough competitor. She fights to the end and I finished it off just in time. She has great skills and a lot of potential. I had to fence really well to win."

"This has been a great tournament. The competition is very good. This is a great site for the championship and has been run very well."

Charlotte Walker, Penn State
1998 NCAA Women's Epee Champion

"It was important for me to keep my head together. I didn't want to panic or get nervous."

Approach to fencing Nicole Dygert: "I had fenced her before (5-4 victory) and I did things that worked well for me. She is a good fencer, so I knew I had to think a lot more and be less aggressive out there."

Notes From Second Day of Competition

  • Notre Dame and Stanford, first and second in the team standings, fenced head-to-head in round six, the first round of the day with the Cardinal winning five of the eight bouts. Stanford's Felicia Zimmermann, second in the women's foil entering the day, beat first-place Sara Walsh from Notre Dame in a 5-3 bout. Zimmermann also beat Myriah Brown 5-1 while Walsh beat Monique de Bruin 5-2 before de Bruin beat Brown 5-2. In women's epee, Stanford's second-place Jessica Lisagor won both of her bouts against defending NCAA champion Magda Krol and Nicole Mustilli while Krol and Mustilli won two bouts against Nelia Mann.
  • Round six in women's epee saw St. John's 1996 NCAA women's epee champion Nicole Dygert split a pair of 5-4 bouts with the powerful Penn State duo of Alexandra Korfanty and Charlotte Walker. Dygert beat Korfanty but lost to Walker, who took over first place from her teammate in the standings after Korfanty also lost to St. John's Raven Johnson.
  • Penn State and Stanford battled head-to-head in round seven in both women's epee and women's foil with the Cardinal taking a 5-3 advantage. In women's foil, Zimmermann won two 5-0 bout against Claire Jackson and Carla Esteva. Jackson and Esteva split with de Bruin, Esteva winning 5-2, Jackson losing 5-1. In women's epee, Walker defeated Lisagor and Mann and Mann and Lisagor beat Korfanty by identical 5-2 score.
  • Five fencers, including Ohio State's defending champion Yelena Kalkina, entered the final round with 15 wins and vying for the fourth spot in the championship round. Of the five, only Columbia-Barnard's Susan Jennings won all three bouts in the final round. Brown and de Bruin each went 2-1 while Szelle and Kalina were 1-2.
  • Both defending champions fell short of making the final four. Kalina fell two wins short of qualifying while Krol was one win short of making the women's epee final four.
  • Notre Dame stood in first place with 73 wins against just 19 losses after completion of women's epee and women's foil. Stanford was second with 66, three-time defending NCAA champion Penn State third with 56 and Columbia-Barnard and Yale tied for fourth with 46. Notre Dame, Stanford and Columbia-Barnard each finished with 38 wins in women's foil. Penn State won 36 bouts in women's epee with Notre Dame second with 35 women's epee wins.
  • In the first women's foil semifinal, Zimmermann, who led 13-0 before Jennings scored two touches, advanced with a 15-2 win. Walsh jumped out to a 3-0 led before Smart rallied to take a 5-3 lead. After Walsh tied the score at 5-5, neither led by more than one touch until Smart took a 12-10 lead. She led 13-10 before Walsh cut it to 13-12 but Smart scored the final two touches for a 15-12 semifinal win.
  • In the first women's epee semifinal, Walker led 9-5 before Lisagor cut the lead to 10-9 with 13 seconds left. The semifinal ended 13-11 in favor of Walker when time expired. Mustilli, who lost 5-0 to Dygert during round robin, trailed 14-10 before cutting the lead to 14-13. A double touch gave Dygert a 15-14 win.
  • Zimmermann won a back-and-forth women's foil final 15-11 after taking an 11-8 lead, the first time either fencer led by more than one touch. Zimmermann is the first woman from Stanford to win an NCAA fencing title. Walker led 9-2 and 11-3 on her way to winning the women's epee crown 15-5, a first for Penn State since the NCAA first sponsored women's epee in 1995.
  • With just one sabreman qualified, Stanford slipped into third place after standing in second place following the women's competition. Penn State moved into second place with 79 wins to Stanford's 71.
  • St. John's defending sabre champion Keeth Smart started slowly, standing in 10th place after the first three rounds, but ended the day in eighth place.
  • Trailing by 17 entering the sabre competition, Penn State's sabre duo of Aaron Steuwe and Michael Takagi made up seven bouts on Irish.

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