Irish post strong results after Sunday
Andrew Robinson | Monday, January 20, 2014
Multiple Notre Dame fencers competed as individuals in the first three days of competition at the North American Cup in Virginia Beach, Va.
The North American Cup (NAC), a national competition organized by the United States Fencing Association, opened Friday morning with the Division I men’s foil, in which the Irish had five representatives. Senior foilist Ariel DeSmet dominated in the early rounds and finished in fifth place, winning his first 11 bouts, including all six of his pool play match-ups. DeSmet was the No. 4 seed after pool play and continued to cruise as the field narrowed from 173 to four in the direct elimination rounds, butfell 15-10 to Michele Caporizzi in the semifinal matchup.Freshman Hazem Khazbek wound up in 24th place in the event after suffering just one loss in pool play, and senior Nick Kubik finished 29th.
“I felt okay about my performance,” Kubik said. “I [am] approaching it as a warm-up for the season.”
The junior men’s sabre competition kicked off later in the morning. Irish sophomore John Hallsten went 5-1 in pool play and finished an impressive 13th in the event.
The NAC continued Saturday morning with women’s sabre, in which sophomore Johanna Thill squared off against freshman Allison Barry in the round of 128. Thill prevailed in a closely-contested 15-13 bout and finished up in 58th place, while Berry would take 79th.
The sabre competition was followed by Division I men’s epee, in which Irish had four current students and a recent graduate in a huge field of 255. Sophomore Garrett McGrath finished 31st, immediately followed by freshman Conrad Sutter in 32nd place. Irish graduate James Kaull ended up in 34th place after entering the elimination round as the fourth seed.
Junior Ashley Severson carried the Irish successes into Sunday morning, tying for third in the women’s epee. Severson went 5-1 in pool play, outscoring her opponents by 19 points, and entered the elimination rounds as the seventh seed. She battled into the semifinals with several impressive wins, including a 15-11 win over top seed Francesca Bassa, before suffering a very close 15-14 loss in her semifinal bout. Junior Nicole Ameli came in at 21st in the event.
The NAC will continue through Monday. Notre Dame sophomore Lee Kiefer will compete Monday morning in the Division I women’s foil event, accompanied by junior foilist Maddie Zeiss. Zeiss finished third in 2012, and Kiefer won the event last year. Kiefer is also a 2012 Olympian and a 2013 NCAA champion as an individual foilist. Several Irish fencers will also compete in the junior men’s epee.