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Fencing: Notre Dame hosts regionals

By A.J. Godeaux | Thursday, March 7, 2013

Coming off a dominating performance last week to capture the Midwest Fencing Conference title, the Irish now look to carry that momentum into the NCAA Midwest Regional meet this weekend held at Notre Dame.

The two-day event has the Irish going up against many familiar foes for coveted spots in the NCAA championships, held in San Antonio on March 21-24. With only five spots up for grabs in foil and epee and four in sabre, it could make for a very competitive meet, especially with fellow top-ten teams Ohio State and Northwestern involved.

Despite the strong competition, the Irish have to be confident after their performance last weekend in the Midwest Fencing Conference championship, riding four gold medal wins and appearances in all six weapon finals to capture the team’s third conference title in four years.

The women’s foil squad was particularly impressive for the Irish, as the Lady Irish shutout their first two opponents. The two points given up in their victory over Wayne State were the sole blemishes on an impeccable meet, as they went on to shut out Ohio State to win gold.

Not to be outdone, the men’s squad defeated the top seeded Buckeyes to win a gold of its own, with the men’s sabre squad and women’s epee capturing the other two golds for the Irish.

It’s strong performances like these which have sophomore foilist Madison Zeiss optimistic for this weekend’s meet.

“This meet is much more individual. … You’re going up against members of your own team just as much as fencers from other teams,” Zeiss said. “But [the conference tournament] definitely gave everyone on the team a big confidence boost.”

The Irish have a track record of sending twelve fencers to the NCAA championship – the maximum number possible – and Zeiss doesn’t see any reason why this year would be different, pointing out that as the top-ranked team in the region, even if someone has a bad meet the squad is likely to pick up one of wildcard spoty.

The meet kicks off Saturday and continues Sunday at the Castellan Family Fencing Center in the Joyce Center.

Contact A.J. Godeaux at agodeaux@nd.edu.