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Fencing: Two fencers compete in national tournament

Mike Monaco | Sunday, February 19, 2012

Two Irish fencers hit their mark this weekend at the United States Fencing Association’s National Junior Olympics with a pair of strong performances.

The event is a chance for fencers under the age of 20 to improve their individual standing and potentially qualify for the national team.

Leading the way for the Irish was freshman epeeist Ashley Severson, who finished in a tie for the bronze medal out of a field of 151 participants. Severson won her first five matches by scores of 15-6, 15-3, 15-11, 15-7 and 15-6, respectively, before squaring off in the semifinals against Anna Van Brummen. Van Brummen advanced with a close 15-14 win and eventually won the finals to secure her gold medal.

Severson’s third-place finish was right in line with the pre-tournament expectations of Irish coach Janusz Bednarski, who predicted a medal for Severson.

“We expected [Severson] to get a medal position,” Bednarski said. “She simply had a very strong tournament, especially since there were a lot of fencers that competed in this event.”

Bednarski was satisfied with the result and believes it puts Severson in prime position to attain the goal — making the U.S. national team.

“It really puts her in a solid position to make the national team,” he said. “Overall it was a good event [for her].”

The bronze medal adds to a solid rookie campaign for Severson, who finished the regular season with a 37-7 mark.

Freshman epeeist Nicole Ameli finished in 11th place in the same event. Ameli won her first three bouts by scores of 15-1, 15-13 and 15-13, respectively. She then lost 15-9 to Audrey Abend, who went on to claim the silver medal.

Bednarski was also pleased with Ameli’s performance, especially given the amount of fencers in the field.

“[Ameli] was very close to reaching the final eight and she also fenced pretty strongly,” he said. “It’s a good sign for the rest of the season.”

Ameli led the Irish epeeists with 39 wins on the season, including a 15-1 showing at the Notre Dame Duals on Jan. 28.

Bednarski hopes both fencers can build off their strong showings moving forward.

“Now [Severson and Ameli] have to return to collegiate fencing and in the next few weeks we’ll have some very important competitions for them to qualify for the NCAA Championships,” he said. “I think it’s a good sign that they are strong enough to perform this well and it will give us strength as a team.”

The Junior Olympics conclude today with the men’s foil competition.


Contact Mike Monaco at jmonaco@nd.edu