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Fencing: 23 fencers head to Regional

Ken Fowler | Thursday, February 28, 2008

Notre Dame qualified 23 of a maximum 24 fencers for the crucial March 2 NCAA Midwest Regional in Detroit.

The Irish are expected to be tied with rival Ohio State for the largest number of competitors at the event.

“It’s a tough competition, and I think we were successful to qualify that many fencers,” Irish coach Janusz Bednarski said.

In fact, 24 Irish fencers accumulated enough points during the season to make the field, but an NCAA rule limiting teams to a maximum of four fencers per event will force sophomore foilist Teddy Hodges to travel to the event as an alternate. He will compete only if one of his four men’s foil teammates withdraws before the competition.

The Regional in Detroit will largely determine what Irish fencers will compete at the NCAA Championships from March 13-16 in Columbus, Ohio. Results from the Regional will account for 60 percent of each fencer’s rating, and the remaining 40 percent will come from results from the regular season.

After officials calculate post-Regional rankings, the top-five fencers from the Midwest in five of the six weapons will automatically qualify for the national competition. Only four men’s foilists from the Midwest Regional will earn spots at the national competition.

Fencers who do not qualify after the results from the Midwest Regional are calculated have one chance to earn a spot at the NCAA Championships. Two non-qualifying fencers in each weapon will earn at-large berths to the national event.

But schools are limited at the NCAA Championships to a maximum of two fencers per event and 12 overall. Last season, 11 Notre Dame fencers qualified for nationals, which was held at Drew University in Madison, N.J.

“We will try to qualify as many as we can to be on the medal position [at nationals],” Bednarski said. “Below 10, it’s hard to get the medal position.”

Bednarski is optimistic about Notre Dame’s chances.

“If they confirm what they did during the whole season,” Bednarski said, “… then we will have done good.”

Irish at the Midwest Regional:

Women’s Foil

Adi Nott

Elilie Prot

Hayley Reese

Rachel Cota

Men’s Foil

Mark Kubik

Steve Kubik

Zach Schirtz

Jakub Jedrkowiak

Women’s Epee

Ewa Nelip

Kelley Hurley

Kim Montoya

Vanessa Rosa

Men’s Epee

Greg Howard

Karol Kostka

Greg Schoolcraft

Andrew Seroff

Women’s Sabre

Sarah Borrmann

Eileen Hassett

Ashley Serrette

Men’s Sabre

Bill Thanhouser

Barron Nydam

Avery Zuck

Tom Horton