Feb. 22, 2001
The Notre Dame men's and women's fencing teams return to action this weekend in the friendly confines of the Joyce Center Fieldhouse, welcoming teams from 10 other schools for the annual Midwest Fencing Conference Championships.
Saturday's all-day team championships begin at 9:00 a.m. while Sunday's individual championships are slated to begin at 8:00 a.m. The event is open to the public and free of charge.
In addition to tournament favorite Notre Dame, top squads among the 11-team field include Wayne State, Ohio State and Northwestern-with the Wildcat women ranked seventh in the latest national coaches poll. Others schools that are expected to compete include Chicago, Cleveland State, Detroit, Lawrence, Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue.
The top-ranked Irish men are led by defending NCAA sabre champion Gabor Szelle (37-3 record in 2001, 134-8 for his career) and last year's NCAA foil runner-up Ozren Debic (42-2, 84-6). Szelle and Debic own two of the top winning percentages in Notre Dame fencing history while sophomore Jan Viviani owns the best career winning percentage in Irish men's epee history (.872, 75-11). Viviani-who placed third at the 2000 NCAAs-posted a 44-4 record during the collegiate regular season and recently claimed the epee championship at the Junior Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The sixth-ranked Irish women are led by sophomore All-America foilist Liza Boutsikaris (54-6 in 2000, 90-15 career) and a pair of All-America sophomore epeeists: Anna Carnick (53-18, 94-28) and Meagan Call (56-14, 95-23). The sabre squad won 80 percent of its matches in the regular season (best by any Irish women's weapon), led by senior captain Carianne McCullough (34-8) and freshman Destanie Milo (41-11).
JUNIOR OLYMPIC UPDATE
Several Notre Dame fencers recently returned from the Junior Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, with sophomore Jan Viviani (Haworth, N.J.) claiming the men's epee championship from a field of 157 fencers. Other top finishes from Irish fencers competing in the Midwest Championships included freshman women's sabre Destanie Milo (17th out of 76), sophomore epeeist Meagan Call (28th out of 103) and freshman foilist Maggie Jordan (48th out of 116), with freshman foilist Matt Castellan and freshman women's sabre Jessie Filkins also participating in the Junior Olympics.
SCOUTING THE FIELD
* The 11-school Midwest Fencing Conference Championship field includes 21 fencers that competed in the 2000 NCAA Championship, with nearly half of that group (10) hailing from Notre Dame: Szelle, Debic, Viviani, senior All-American sabre Andrzej Bednarski, junior All-American epeeist Brian Casas and sophomore foilist Forrest Walton-plus Boutsikaris, Carnick, Call and McCullough. Freshman foilist Maggie Jordan (45-17) has filled the void left by graduated four-year All-American Magda Krol.
* One of the marquee matchups will pit the top two men's sabre competitors from the 2000 NCAAs: Szelle and Wayne State's Jakub Krochmalski, who dropped a 15-12 decision to Szelle in the NCAA title bout.
* Other 2000 All-Americans who likely will be in action at the Joyce Center this weekend include Cleveland State foilist Martin Koren (10th at 2000 NCAAs) and Ohio State epeeist Geoff Kane (11th), plus the Northwestern women's duo of Kate Rudkin (5th in epee) and Carly Wells (5th in sabre).
* Other top fencers to watch (based on 2000 NCAA competition) include: Ohio State epeeist Alan Jones, Lawrence foilist Jeffrey Peyton, Wayne State epeeist Marta Sciubisz and Northwestern's Jen Greenbaum (epee) and Kristen Dorf (foil).