Joanne Norell | March 1, 2017
The University of Notre Dame men's and women's fencing teams left Cameron Indoor Stadium with plenty to celebrate after the close of competition at the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships on Sunday. The Irish men claimed two of three weapons titles in the morning before the No. 3-ranked women closed out the weekend with their third consecutive conference crown.
How It Happened
Men's Individual Championships
The Irish advanced seven student-athletes to the semifinals of the individual competition and guaranteed themselves championships in epee and foil by advancing two fencers to the final bouts in each weapon category. Freshman Ariel Simmons won his first conference title in epee, defeating reigning ACC Champion Dylan French. Senior foilist Kristjan Archer also captured his first ACC gold, upending defending champ Axel Kiefer. In sabre, junior Jonah Shainberg took home silver.
Simmons scored two upsets en route to his victory. The freshman from Bellaire, Texas, was seeded fourth after pool play, but defeated top-seeded Bryn Hammarberg of North Carolina in a thrilling 15-14 semifinal bout. French, the No. 3 seed in the semifinal, bounced second-seeded Tar Heel Matt Shlimak 15-9 to advance. In the final, Simmons prevailed 15-9 to take over the epee crown.
The foil final was ultimately a rematch of the 2016 title bout, as Archer and Kiefer also dueled for the gold a season ago with Kiefer winning by a 15-7 decision. This time around, Archer came through with a 15-11 victory, installing himself as the third different Irish foil champion in as many seasons.
Kiefer, who was seeded fourth after the round robin, defeated junior teammate and top seed Hazem Khazbak in the semifinal, 15-9. The third-seeded Archer defeated Duke's Eoin Gronningsater 15-10 to advance to the final. Khazbak ultimately finished in fourth place.
Shainberg snared the second seed into the sabre semis and faced off with third-seeded classmate Jonathan Fitzgerald, winning 15-9 to meet Duke's Pascual Di Tella in the championship bout. Di Tella raced to a 10-2 lead before Shainberg cut it to 12-6, but Di Tella got the final three touches to win the match. Fitzgerald finished in fourth place.