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Fencing: Fencers begin spring season

By Brendan Bell | Friday, January 18, 2013

Notre Dame kicks off its 2013 campaign with the United States Fencing Associations’ Junior Tournament in Louisville, Ky., today followed by a pair of dual meets at Saint John’s and New York University. Thanks to an offseason of preparation and conditioning, the Irish feel confident and prepared for the upcoming spring season. Sophomore foil Madison Zeiss, who placed 8th at NCAA nationals last spring, says the team has a great outlook for the spring season.

“Last semester we focused mostly on conditioning,” Zeiss said. “We did a lot of drilling and it has been now more about focusing on tournament formats and preparation for competition.”

Zeiss noted the biggest challenge of the upcoming meets stems from the hectic nature of returning to school while also preparing for the season.

“Two weeks isn’t exactly enough time and it is difficult to get everyone on track,” Zeiss said, “but I think we have been working really hard on it and we will be ready to go for the meets.”

The Irish have not competed since November, when women’s sophomore epee Nicole Ameli and men’s senior sabre Jason Choy picked up a pair of silver medals during the Garret Open at Pennsylvania State University. The Irish now start their spring campaign over the next two weeks. The primary events for the entire fencing team this month will take place on Jan. 26 and 27, when Notre Dame travels to Saint John’s then New York University.

During the last few months, the Irish aligned their goals for the upcoming season, both individually and, more importantly, as a team.

“Our main goal is to win the national championship,” Zeiss said. “We have a bunch of returning Olympians, and a much more unified team and a stronger presence from the captains this year.”

“We want to win NCAA championships,” she said. “Under that we each have our own goals as well. We are really balanced and have traveled internationally and domestically gaining experience.”

Many of the bright spots for Notre Dame this year use the foil. The women are hoping one of their youngest members, freshman foil Lee Keifer, will lead the team. The men, on the other hand, hope to close out matches with senior foil Gerek Meinhardt.

The USFA Junior Championships starts today and concludes Monday, in Louisville, Ky.

Contact Brendan Bell at bbell2@nd.edu