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Fencing: Irish stand in first place after day one of NCAAs

Matthew Robison | Friday, March 23, 2012

After one day of competition at the NCAA championships in Columbus, Ohio, the No. 4 women’s squad has positioned themselves in first place, tied with No. 5 Penn State and No. 1 Ohio State with 51 points.

“We have to be satisfied with the performance of our young team,” Irish coach Janusz Bednarski said. “They are less experienced. If they are leading after the first day, you should be happy.”

Freshmen epees Ashley Severson and Nicole Ameli went 10-4 on the day, leading the women’s squad. In the foil, junior Grace Hartman also went 10-4, while freshman Madison Zeiss went 7-7. In sabre, junior Lian Osier captured nine victories and junior Abigail Nichols finished with five wins.

Bednarski was quick to mention the work is not over. The women’s competition continues today, and the men’s squad competes Saturday and Sunday. The NCAA champion will not be crowned until Sunday evening.

“We are still not winners,” Bednarski said. “We are tied for first place with two big teams.”

No. 2 Princeton is in a close fourth-place position, trailing the three leaders by only one point, and No. 3 St. John’s is a mere three points behind.

Bednarski also praised the two teams atop the leaderboard with the Irish.

“[The Buckeyes are] fencing from their own site. So it’s really hard to fence against them,” Bednarski said. “The other is one of the best teams in the history of fencing, Penn State.”

Despite being the defending national champions, the Irish have had an underdog role all season. This weekend is Notre Dame’s opportunity to finally prove themselves on the biggest of stages.

“We have to prove that we are better,” Bednarski said. “It will be really very hard. Leadership will probably change during the day.

“In a race of 10 kilometers, we are leading after 10 meters.”

The championships continue throughout the weekend in Columbus, Ohio.


Contact Matthew Robison at mrobison@nd.edu