March 14, 2017
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — For the University of Notre Dame fencing program, the week of Spring Break is viewed as a training camp of sorts ahead of the NCAA Championships.
This year will be no different, except for an added wrinkle. This week, the Irish won’t just face the Irish, but will see fresh competition as they welcome a delegation from Shanghai Lixin University of Accounting and Finance in Shanghai, China, as part of a friendship program organized in conjunction with Notre Dame International.
“This week will be a great example of the ideals that our University and our team live by,” Irish head coach Gia Kvaratskhelia said. “It will be a great educational and cultural opportunity for our athletes to meet and train with their counterparts from Shanghai. It will serve to bring our two universities closer together, and in a small way, our two nations.
“It will also serve as good preparation for the NCAA Championships. But even if it didn't, this program would be absolutely worth doing, and we're excited for the upcoming week.”
The Lixin group will join the Irish for a week of fencing and relationship building, with four days of competition, as well as recreational and educational opportunities around campus and the surrounding area.
Competition will begin between the two groups at 9 a.m. ET Tuesday in the Castellan Family Fencing Center. A round robin will be followed by a direct elimination tournament on Wednesday and team and mix competitions on Thursday and Friday.
In the afternoons, the visitors will enjoy a campus tour, shopping at the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore, a trip to University Park Mall, bowling and a tour of Notre Dame athletics facilities. Following competition on Thursday, the two groups will gather to watch the Notre Dame men’s basketball team’s opening round game against Princeton in the NCAA Championship tournament. The delegation will also visit Chicago on Saturday before returning home.
The program will officially open with a welcome dinner on Tuesday evening at Club Naimoli.
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Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2014 and coordinates communications efforts for the Notre Dame women's soccer, men's tennis, women's tennis and fencing programs. Norell is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in mass communication, and earned her master's degree in sports industry management from Georgetown University in 2013.