Nov. 25, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame’s fencing team released their competition schedule for the 2014 season today, as announced by Irish head coach Janusz Bednarski. The Irish will travel to six different states and compete in a total of nine meets.
With three fall exhibition meets already completed and a bevvy of young freshmen on their roster, Notre Dame looks to have a very dominant presence in their last year with the Midwest Fencing Conference. As part of the University’s agreement to join the Atlantic Coast Conference, the fencing team will be the last team to make the move to the new conference in the 2014-15 school year.
“We will be competing against many top teams this year; it’s a very tough season for us,” Bednarski says. “Not only is it a great opportunity to gain experience by our young freshmen, but it will also present a challenge for our top athletes to not only win, but also lead the younger athletes on the strip as we rebuild a new team.”
The Irish first travel to Virginia Beach, Va. for the NAC Div. I Junior competition Jan. 18-20. From there, the team will travel to New York City for dual meets with NYU and St. John’s, before wrapping up the first road trip with a dual meet at Northwestern Feb. 1.
Notre Dame then plays host for the second time this year with the DeCicco Duals – previously called the Notre Dame Duals, the change in name comes as a tribute to the late coach Michael DeCicco, who passed away last spring.
In addition to renaming their home meet, Notre Dame’s fencers will be sporting a commemorative armband this year in memoriam to DeCicco, who created the Academic Services for Student-Athletes Office on campus and was influential in the birth of the women’s fencing team, one of the first varsity sports programs open to women in the 1970s.
The Irish will make a cross-country road trip to Portland, Ore. to compete in the United States Fencing Association (USFA) National Junior Olympics from Feb. 14-17. They will return back to the Castellan Family Fencing Center at the Joyce Center to host the Midwest Fencing Conference Championships March 1-2 for the last time.
The season closes with two championship meets, the first to be held at University of Detroit-Mercy for the NCAA Regional Championships Mar. 8-9, and the last to be held at French Field House at Ohio State University, for the 2014 NCAA Championships March 20-23. Ohio State last hosted the NCAA Championship in 2012.
The Irish graduated nine women and five men from last year’s team. Three former NCAA champions will add veteran experience to this year’s roster, with Olympic foilists Gerek Meinhardt (2010 NCAA men’s foil champion) and Lee Kiefer (2013 NCAA women’s foil champion) joined by Ariel DeSmet (2011 NCAA men’s foil champion).