Defending national champions Notre Dame and last year’s first and second runners-up Ohio State and Columbia University-Barnard College, have each qualified the maximum number of fencers for this year’s NCAA Championships in Pennsylvania.
Beginning on Thursday, March 22, a total of 144 fencers from 26 different schools will represent their programs at the four-day men’s and women’s national collegiate fencing championships being hosted by Penn State University.
Selected by the NCAA committee based on performances at regional championships – which happened across the country on March 10 and 11 – as well as across the season, all fencers will compete in a round-robin format of five-touch bouts in their weapon, earning a point for their school for each victory. The six weapons to be contested are the men’s épée, men’s foil, men’s sabre, women’s épée, women’s foil and women’s sabre, with no more than two fencers from any school selected in each weapon.
Following the round-robin competition, the top four finishers in each event (based on their number of victories and their ratio of touches scored against touches received) will fence a 15-touch semi-final to decide who competes for the individual title. The losing semi-finalists will be awarded a tie for third-place.
The school with the most combined victories, and if needed the best ratio of total touches scored against touches received, will be declared national champions.
After claiming six top-three finishes, including gold in both the women’s épée and foil at the Midwest Regional Championships on March 10, Notre Dame looks set to resume its rivalry with near-neighbors Ohio State, who were also strong at the same tournament.
Ohio State’s men come into the championships ranked first on the current NCAA table with 141 points, ahead of Harvard (139) and Columbia (131). In the women’s division, Notre Dame and Columbia lead on 144 points each, well ahead of third-ranked Ohio State on 118.
Hosts Penn State, who have won the team championship a record 13 times since the men’s and women’s results were combined in 1990, are ranked 4th and 5th in the women’s and men’s tables respectively. They will be hoping to take their first team win since 2014, following gold in the men’s and women’s saber at the Mid-Atlantic/South Regionals.
Princeton’s men have also hit form at the right time, winning both the foil and épée at the same tournament, while in the Northeast region, Harvard and St. John’s both took multiple gold’s, including a 1-2 result for St. John’s in the men’s épée. Columbia’s women were strong too, achieving a rare 1-2-3 sweep in the foil.
In the West, Stanford University will be looking to improve on last year’s tenth position, after they dominated their championships, taking out the women’s foil, as well as the men’s and women’s saber.
One of the most convincing performers at last years NCAA championships, Team USA Rio Olympian Eli Derschwitz, who comfortably took out the men’s saber event, will return for Harvard with a point to prove, having only managed fourth place in the Northeast regionals on March 11.
Notre Dame will be without their own dual Olympian and one of the most decorated collegiate athletes in history, Lee Kiefer, who won her fourth foil title in 2017, and will be hoping the likes of junior Sabrina Massialas, competing in her third championships, can take her place at the top of the dais. The Kiefer family will still be represented however, with Lee’s younger brother Axel appearing for the Irish in the men’s foil.
Below is a full list of the 144 student-athletes selected to compete in this year’s championships. Fencing.net wishes them all the best of luck!
|Kravitz, Zachary||UC-San Diego||West|
|Canaux, Gabe||Columbia University Barnard College||Northeast|
|Hesslegrave, Porter||Columbia University Barnard College||Northeast|
|Sless, Alexander||Incarnate Word||West|
|Gao, Tiger||Johns Hopkins||Mid-Atlantic/South|
|Sanders, Ian||New York University||Northeast|
|Hanahan, Nicholas||Notre Dame||Midwest|
|Simmons, Ariel||Notre Dame||Midwest|
|Blais, Marc-Antoine||Ohio State||Midwest|
|Weiss, Lewis||Ohio State||Midwest|
|Piskovatskov, Anton||Penn State||Mid-Atlantic/South|
|Centeno, Dante||Sacred Heart||Northeast|
|McDowald, Curtis||St. John’s||Northeast|
|White, Sean||St. John’s||Northeast|
|Hadler, David||UC-San Diego||West|
|Moelis, Sam||Columbia University Barnard College||Northeast|
|Kumbla, Sidarth||Columbia University Barnard College||Northeast|
|Blumentals, Renars||Incarnate Word||West|
|Mannan, Zohaib||New York University||Northeast|
|Shin, Philip||New York University||Northeast|
|Itkin, Nick||Notre Dame||Midwest|
|Kiefer, Axel||Notre Dame||Midwest|
|Chastanet, Maximilien||Ohio State||Midwest|
|Sudilovsky, Stas||Ohio State||Midwest|
|Bicego, Sebastiano||Penn State||Mid-Atlantic/South|
|Nemeth, Andras||St. John’s||Northeast|
|Swicegood, Brian||Air Force||West|
|Sieradzky, Dawson||Columbia University Barnard College||Northeast|
|Liang, Calvin||Columbia University Barnard College||Northeast|
|Di Tella, Pascual||Duke||Mid-Atlantic/South|
|Bak, Mikolaj||New York University||Northeast|
|Williams, Grant||New York University||Northeast|
|Fitzgerald, Jonathan||Notre Dame||Midwest|
|Shainberg, Jonah||Notre Dame||Midwest|
|Koch, Domenik||Ohio State||Midwest|
|Koch, Fredrick||Ohio State||Midwest|
|Van Hoffelen, Raphael||Pennsylvania||Mid-Atlantic/South|
|Mackiewicz, Andrew||Penn State||Mid-Atlantic/South|
|Metryka, Karol||Penn state||Mid-Atlantic/South|
|Fares, Ferjani||St. John’s||Northeast|
|Natanzon, Ben||St. John’s||Northeast|
|Goode, Matthew||Air Force||West|
|Elsissy, Ziad||Wayne State||Midwest|
|Morgan, Ella||Boston College||Northeast|
|Beihold, Emily||UC-San Diego||West|
|Zmurk, Emma||UC-San Diego||West|
|Angen, Katie||Columbia University Barnard College||Northeast|
|Vierheller, Giana||Columbia University Barnard College||Northeast|
|Toby, Natalia||Fairleigh Dickinson||Mid-Atlantic/South|
|DeGrasse, Justine||North Carolina||Mid-Atlantic/South|
|Sirico, Amanda||Notre Dame||Midwest|
|Yefremenko, Dasha||Notre Dame||Midwest|
|Verret, Alexanne||Ohio State||Midwest|
|von Dadelszen, Emma||Ohio State||Midwest|
|Kalonji, Anastasia||Penn State||Mid-Atlantic/South|
|Vanbenthuysen, Barbara||Penn State||Mid-Atlantic/South|
|Ryf, Ally||St. John’s||Northeast|
|Zuikova, Veronika||St. John’s||Northeast|
|Masui, Konami||UC-San Diego||West|
|Blow, Iman||Columbia University Barnard College||Northeast|
|Binder, Sylvie||Columbia University Barnard College||Northeast|
|Luong, Tiffany||New York University||Northeast|
|Kleiner, Elyssa||Notre Dame||Midwest|
|Massialas, Sabrina||Notre Dame||Midwest|
|Cecchini, Gabriela||Ohio State||Midwest|
|Rivano, Camilla||Ohio State||Midwest|
|Bicego, Lodovica||Penn State||Mid-Atlantic/South|
|Zuzulo, Isabella||Penn State||Mid-Atlantic/South|
|Nechanicky, Mackensie||Air Force||West|
|Johnson, Lena||Columbia University Barnard College||Northeast|
|Michel, Violet||Columbia University Barnard College||Northeast|
|Hassett, Tara||Notre Dame||Midwest|
|Russo, Francesca||Notre Dame||Midwest|
|Bosetti, Maddalena||Ohio State||Midwest|
|Merza, Sarah||Ohio State||Midwest|
|Chang, Karen||Penn State||Mid-Atlantic/South|
|Moss, Zara||Penn State||Mid-Atlantic/South|
|Cieslar, Karolina||St. John’s||Northeast|
|Kaleta, Karolina||St. John’s||Northeast|
|Singleton-Comfort, Leanne||Air Force||West|
|Palczynska, Patrycja||Wayne State||Midwest|
A live feed of the semi-final and final bouts of this year’s NCAA Fencing Championships will be available on ESPN3 or on the WatchESPN app. The semi-finals and finals, along with championship highlights will go to air on ESPNU at 1 pm EST on April 4. The event will be Mar. 22-25, hosted by Pennsylvania State University at the Multi-Sport Facility in University Park, Pa. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster or from the Penn State Ticket Office at eth Bryce Jordan Centre (Monday-Friday 9am-4.30pm)
Live results can be found here on EscrimeResults
As is tradition, 14meters is hosing a fantasy fencing bracket for the 2018 season, which closes the day before the event begins!