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Fencing: Hurley in Budapest for Olympic dreams

Joe Meixell | Friday, January 18, 2008

Kelley Hurley is in Budapest, in pursuit of gold.

The sophomore will fence in the women’s epee World Cup Grand Prix event there today and tomorrow. Hurley is No. 2 in the nation in women’s epee, behind only her sister, Courtney. Both are fighting for spots on the U.S. Olympic team for this summer’s Beijing Games, where the International Olympic Committee is imposing a limit of two women’s epeeists per country.

The international event offers twice the rankings points as the domestic event this weekend, and thus gives the sophomore a chance to solidify her strong position in the U.S. standings before Beijing.

Meanwhile, 14 other Notre Dame fencers and one future member of the Irish – top American foilist Gerek Meinhardt – will travel to Atlanta to compete for spots on the U.S. national team. The fencers in Atlanta will battle to qualify for this season’s World Championships.

The USFA North American Cup – which will include fencers from the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico – has flights for the junior (under-20) and senior competitors. The 11 Irish fencers under 20 years of age can compete for national team spots in both divisions.

The Notre Dame women dominated the Western Invite at the Air Force Academy last week, while the men went 4-1 and captured a narrow overall victory over Stanford, despite losing to the Cardinal in the head-to-head competition.

“It will be interesting to see how well they compete,” Irish coach Janusz Bednarski said. “They fenced well [against] Stanford, but it’s another step, another class. It’s not that they’re just fencing against college-aged kids. They’re fencing against everyone.”

Though the event in Atlanta is not an NCAA-sanctioned competition, assistant coach Gia Kvaratskhelia, who trains the Irish foilists, will accompany the team to Georgia. Bednarski probably will make some of the competition, but he was unsure when he would arrive in Atlanta.

Of the 14 Irish fencers competing, nine are freshman and one is a sophomore. Still, Bednarski is confident that they will not face additional obstacles against older fencers.

“The kids are rather well experienced, who are going,” he said. “I doubt that they will have an experience problem. It will be how they work and how well they fence.”

Notre Dame returns to team action Jan. 26 in New York for the NYU Duals.

Irish in Atlanta

Men’s Sabre:

Freshman Avery Zuck

Freshman Barron Nydam

Women’s Sabre:

Freshman Sarah Borrmann

Freshman Eileen Hassett

Men’s Epee:

Freshman Andrew Seroff

Junior Karol Kostka

Women’s Epee:

Freshman Ewa Nelip

Junior Kim Montoya

Men’s Foil:

Freshman Steve Kubik

Freshman Zach Schirtz

Sophomore Teddy Hodges

Junior Mark Kubik

Senior Jakub Jedrkowiak

Women’s Foil:

Freshman Hayley Reese