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Fencing: Team prepares for regionals after perfect regular season

Kevin Baldwin | Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Irish fencers may well be on their way for a return to nationals as they get ready to host the Midwest conference championship on March 6. Both the men’s and women’s teams just turned in an undefeated performance at the Notre Dame Duals this past weekend, concluding their perfect regular season.

“Right now the team’s fencing really well — everyone’s confident, everyone’s been training really hard at practice and it’s really good to start seeing things pay off,” junior foilist Zach Schirtz said. “We’ve got the conference tournament coming up and the NCAA and I think we’ll be a strong team in both of those tournaments.”

Standing at 33-0 and 35-0, respectively, the men’s and women’s fencing teams, described by Irish coach Janusz Bednarski as “one of the best in the history of the program” also feature the strongest rosters in recent memory, touting numerous All-Americans in addition to two members of the U.S. National team.

Surrounded by that level of talent, it is little wonder that many members of the team’s large freshman class have risen quickly into nationally recognized competitors.

“I think the upperclassmen are doing a good job of shaping the freshmen, we’ve got a very young team, the upperclassmen have shown some of the freshmen the ropes and the freshmen have really taken on to that and come out and do really well,” Schirtz said.

With only three weeks until the start of the postseason, the Irish are certain to see some heated competition as many teams, including No. 5 Northwestern, will be out for redemption after the swift defeats the Irish doled out last weekend.

 “Expectations are good but how it will happen, you never know its always a mystery how you will fence in the most in the most important competition especially when you have such young kids like we have,” Bednarski said.