April 20, 2018
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame fencing program swept the top academic awards from the Atlantic Coast Conference this season, as senior Jonah Shainberg and junior Amanda Sirico were named the ACC Scholar-Athletes of the Year for their respective All-ACC Academic Teams.
The reigning back-to-back national champion Irish counted seven additional fencers named to the all-academic squad, including three men and four women with eight total repeat honorees. Notre Dame’s men’s all-academic honorees include seniors Jonathan Fitzgerald, Nicholas Hanahan and Shainberg, and junior Axel Kiefer, while senior Francesca Russo and juniors Tara Hassett, Elyssa Kleiner, Sabrina Massialas and Sirico made up the Irish women’s contingent.
“At Notre Dame, we strive to excel on the strip and in the classroom,” head coach Gia Kvaratskhelia said. “As such, when our students are recognized by the ACC for their academic accomplishments, it is a great honor — especially when you consider the caliber of our fellow conference schools.”
Shainberg is Notre Dame’s first male Scholar-Athlete of the Year since 2016, when Garrett McGrath earned the honor. A two-time ACC Champion in men’s sabre and four-time All-ACC honoree, he owns a 3.467 GPA and will graduate in May with a degree in management consulting from the Mendoza College of Business. This season, the Rye, New York, native was a Second Team All-American, finishing in fifth place at the NCAA Championships and leading the Irish to a second straight team title as captain.
“I am thrilled that Jonah has been named ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Spend any time around him, and you'll see that the passion and work ethic he demonstrates in his fencing is matched by that he puts into his academic and professional life. He will be a success in any endeavor he chooses, and I can't think of a more worthy recipient of such a prestigious award.”
Sirico is a two-time First Team All-American in women’s epee, posting back-to-back bronze medal finishes at the NCAA Championships in 2017 and 2018. She is the first female Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the Irish since Lee Kiefer was given the honor in 2015. Also a two-time ACC Champion, Sirico owns a 3.388 GPA and is working toward her degree in Design.
“I am so happy that Amanda has been named ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Part of the joy of being a college coach is that you come to learn that your students are extraordinary outside of sport. Nina's creativity, talent and work ethic are an inspiration to me, and I can't wait to see the things she will accomplish in the future, both on and off the strip. No one deserves this award more than she does.”
Shainberg joins Fitzgerald (Arabic) as four-time All-ACC Academic Team honorees, while Axel Kiefer (Science Pre-Professional) and Hassett (Marketing) have been named to their respective teams three times each. Hanahan, Massialas, Russo and Sirico are each two-time all-academic team members.
Notre Dame’s nine total team members were the most of any ACC school, followed by Duke with eight total honorees.
All-ACC Academic Teams
**** — Four-time honoree
*** — Three-time honoree
** — Two-time honoree
-- ND --
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 men's tennis and fencing programs, in addition to assisting with football communications and overseeing production of the football Gameday Magazine. Norell is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University and earned her master's degree from Georgetown University in 2013.