March 12, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Along with winning four of six weapon classes last weekend at the 2013 NCAA Midwest Regional, the University of Notre Dame fencing team qualified the maximum 12 fencers to compete at the NCAA Championship March 21-24 in San Antonio, Texas. The Irish have now sent the maximum number of fencers to the NCAA Championship in six straight seasons.
The NCAA Championship includes events for men and women in the three fencing weapons – epee, foil and sabre. Each participating school can qualify a maximum of two fencers to compete in each of the six weapons classes.
Notre Dame enters this year’s competition looking for its ninth national title. The Irish men won the NCAA Championship in 1977, 1978 and 1986, while the women’s team claimed the team title in 1987. The Irish have won four combined national championships in the last 20 seasons, 1994, 2003, 2005, and 2011.
The Notre Dame qualifier list includes 2011 NCAA champion Courtney Hurley and Ewa Nelip (women’s epee), 2011 NCAA champion Ariel DeSmet and 2010 NCAA champion Gerek Meinhardt (men’s foil), Lian Osier (women’s sabre), Madison Zeiss (women’s foil), Michael Rossi (men’s epee) and Kevin Hassett (men’s sabre). New to the NCAA bouts this season are freshmen Garret McGrath (men’s epee), John Hallsten (men’s sabre), Johanna Thill (women’s sabre) and Lee Kiefer (women’s foil).
Hurley and Nelip will each make their fourth appearance at the NCAA Championship, while Meinhardt and Osier will fence at the NCAAs for the third time in their Notre Dame careers. DeSmet, Hassett, Rossi and Zeiss will all be making their second NCAA appearances with the team at this year’s event.
Notre Dame and Princeton both qualified the maximum allotment of fencers, and following by Penn State, Ohio State, Columbia, Harvard, and St. Johns with 11 competitors. Stanford will send 10 fencers to the competition.
Tournament play at the 2013 NCAA Championship begins March 21, with the men’s preliminary rounds 1-4 starting at 9:30 a.m. (CT).