Fencing

@NDFencing
Champion Irish To Welcome Elite Class In 2017-18

April 7, 2017


By Joanne Norell

NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Fresh off the latest NCAA team title in program history, the University of Notre Dame fencing program and head coach Gia Kvaratskhelia are set to replenish the roster with top-flight prospects, welcoming five new members to the Irish family.

Incoming freshmen Stefani Deschner (Versailles, Ky. | Foil), Isabelle Elizondo (Cypress, Texas | Foil), Stephen Ewart (Lancaster, Calif. | Epee), Nick Itkin (Los Angeles | Foil) and Dariya Yefremenko (Manapalan, N.J. | Epee) signed National Letters of Intent during November's early signing period and will join Notre Dame in its quest to defend its national title in 2017-18.

Stefani Deschner (Foil | Versailles, Ky. | George Washington University OHS | Bluegrass Fencers' Club)

HIGH SCHOOL & CLUB HIGHLIGHTS

  • Currently the No. 7-ranked junior and No. 10-senior in the United States
  • Won team bronze at the 2016 Cadet World Championships
  • Made 2014 and 2015 Cadet World Championship teams
  • 2016 U-17 World Championships Bronze Medalist
  • 2016 Pisa Cadet European Cup Silver Medalist
  • 2015 Montecatini Terme European Cup Gold Medalist
  • 2015 Cadet July Challenge Gold Medalist
  • 2015 Tauberbischofsheim Cadet European Cup Silver Medalist
  • 2015 USA Fencing Junior Olympics Bronze Medalist
  • 2015 Cadet World Championships - Fifth Place
  • 2013 Tauberbischofsheim Cadet European Cup Gold Medalist
  • Four-time gold medalist in junior and cadet North American Cup events
  • Three-time bronze medalist in junior and cadet NACs

PREP & PERSONAL

  • Will graduate from George Washington University Online High School in June 2017
  • Competes as part of the same fencing club as Irish fencers Lee Kiefer, Axel Kiefer, Hazem Khazbak and Nicholas Sloan
  • Originally from Mechanicsville, Virginia; moved to Kentucky to compete with Bluegrass Fencers' Club
  • Member of the National Honor Society
  • National Merit Scholar Semi-Finalist
  • Active with Southland Christian Church youth and outreach
  • Volunteer at Woodland County Public Schools
  • Daughter of Steven and Bonnie Deschner
  • Full name is Stefani Kaylyn Deschner
  • Will enroll in the First Year of Studies with plans to be a science pre-professional major

Isabelle Elizondo (Foil | Cypress, Texas | Cypress Woods | Salle Mauro Fencing Academy)

HIGH SCHOOL & CLUB HIGHLIGHTS

  • 2017 January Junior NAC - Fifth Place
  • 2016 January Junior NAC Gold Medalist
  • 2016 Pisa Cadet European Cup - Eighth Place
  • 2016 Cadet World Championships - 10th Place
  • 2015 Budapest Cadet European Cup Gold Medalist
  • 2015 October Division I NAC - Seventh Place
  • 2015 Tauberbischofsheim Cadet European Cup - Ninth Place
  • 2014 Y14 National Champion
  • 2014 Division 1A National Championship Silver Medalist

PREP & PERSONAL

  • Will graduate from Cypress Woods High School in May 2017
  • National Hispanic Scholar
  • AP Scholar With Distinction
  • Full name is Isabelle Marie Elizondo
  • Daughter of Gilbert and Karen Elizondo
  • Younger sister of Laura and Kathryn
  • Uncle Thomas Guerra competed in fencing at the Air Force Academy
  • Will enroll in the First Year of Studies program with plans to study biology and pre-professional studies

Stephen Ewart (Épée | Lancaster, Calif. | Paraclete HS | Swords Fencing Studio)

HIGH SCHOOL & CLUB HIGHLIGHTS

  • Currently the No. 2-ranked Junior and No. 14-ranked senior in the United States
  • 2017 U.S. Junior World Championships Team Member - Advanced to Round of 16 (As of April 7)
  • 2016 U.S. Cadet World Championships Team Member

PREP & PERSONAL

  • Will graduate from Paraclete High School in spring of 2017
  • When not fencing, enjoys Frisbee golf
  • Son of Stephen and Aniko Ewart
  • Brother to David
  • Will enroll in the First Year of Studies Program

Nick Itkin (Foil | Los Angeles | Palisades Charter HS | Los Angeles International Fencing Center)

HIGH SCHOOL & CLUB HIGHLIGHTS

  • Currently the top-ranked Junior and fifth-ranked Senior in the United States
  • Currently the No. 7-ranked Junior and No. 99-ranked Senior in the world
  • 2017 Junior Pan American Championships Team Gold Medalist
  • 2017 Junior Pan American Championships Silver Medalist
  • 2017 January Division I North American Cup Gold Medalist
  • 2017 January Junior North American Cup Silver Medalist
  • 2017 Junior World Cup Silver Medalist (Aix-En-Provence, France)
  • 2017 Junior World Cup Team Silver Medalist (Aix-en-Provence, France)
  • 2017 Senior World Cup - 16th Place (Bonn, Germany)
  • 2016 November Junior North American Cup Silver Medalist
  • 2016 Junior World Cup Team Gold Medalist (Leszno, Poland)
  • 2016 Junior World Cup - Seventh Place (Leszno, Poland)
  • 2016 Pisa Cadet European Cup Gold Medalist
  • 2016 Cadet Pan American Championships Gold Medalist
  • 2016 Junior Pan American Championships Team Gold Medalist
  • 2016 January Junior NAC Bronze Medalist
  • 2016 Junior World Cup - Seventh Place (Bratislava, Slovakia)
  • 2015 Budapest Cadet European Cup Gold Medalist
  • 2015 November Junior NAC Gold Medalist
  • 2015 October Cadet NAC Gold Medalist
  • 2015 Junior World Cup Silver Medalist (Bangkok, Thailand)
  • 2015 December Senior NAC Bronze Medalist
  • 2015 Montecatini Cadet European Cup Bronze Medalist
  • 2015 Cadet Junior Olympics Bronze Medalist
  • 2015 Bratislava Cadet European Cup - Ninth Place
  • 2015 USA Fencing Division I National Championships - 11th Place
  • 2014 Gyor (Hungary) Cadet European Cup - Sixth Place
  • 2014 November Cadet NAC - Fifth Place

PREP & PERSONAL

  • Full name is Nick Boris Itkin
  • Son of Michael Itkin and Tatyana Itkina
  • Younger brother to Julia Itkina
  • Will enroll in the First Year of Studies program with intentions to enter the Mendoza College of Business

Dasha Yefremenko (Épée | Manalapan, N.J. | Manalapan HS | Medeo Fencing Club)

HIGH SCHOOL & CLUB HIGHLIGHTS

  • 2016 Junior Olympics Bronze Medalist
  • 2016 Cadet Junior Olympics - Sixth Place
  • 2016 High School Invitational Gold Medalist
  • 2015 Richmond Cadet North American Cup Gold Medalist
  • 2015 Junior Olympics Team Gold Medalist
  • 2015 Salt Lake City Junior North American Cup Silver Medalist
  • 2015 Junior World Cup - 10th Place (Budapest, Hungary)
  • 2015 New Jersey Girls State Epee Runner-Up
  • 2014 Junior Olympics Gold Medalist
  • 2014 New Jersey Girls State Epee Champion

PREP & PERSONAL

  • Will graduate from Manalapan High School in June 2017
  • Member of the Manalapan Teen Leadership Committee
  • Volunteers at Special Strides Therapeutic Riding Center
  • Named an AP Scholar
  • Honored with the Freehold Regional High School District's Award of Excellence
  • Full name is Dasha Yefremenko
  • Originally from Kharkov, Ukraine
  • Daughter of Constantine and Veronika Yefremenko
  • Will enroll in the First Year of Studies program with plans to study finance

--ND--

Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant 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 and earned her master's degree from Georgetown University in 2013.


 

 

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