COLUMBUS, Ohio — Notre Dame maintained its overall lead at the 2011 NCAA Championships after day two on Friday at the French Field House and St. John Arena, holding a six point advantage over second place Penn State. Individually, freshman Ariel DeSmet claimed gold in men’s foil while senior sabreist Avery Zuck won silver in sabre.
The men concluded all of their bouts at the NCAA Championship with the Irish finishing at 90 points. Penn State sits in second place, closing the margin of the Irish by two points from Thursday, with 84 points. St. John’s closes out the top three with 71 points.
DeSmet qualified for the final four after finishing pool pay with a record of 18-5, good for the three seed. In his semifinal bout, he dismissed Penn State’s David Willette, 15-6, to earn a spot in the final. Once there, he met up with Penn State’s Miles Chamley-Watson, who earlier in the day had defeated him 5-1 in pool play. The two battled touch for touch early in the bout before Chamley-Watson pulled ahead 9-7. DeSmet then countered with the run that would define that match, claiming the next five touches for a 12-9 advantage. Chamley-Watson battled back to tie the match 13-13, but DeSmet then claimed the next two touches for a 15-13 win and the gold medal.
The gold is the second consecutive for the Irish in men’s foil, as Gerek Meinhardt won 15-9 last year over Willette. DeSmet is the 26th Irish fencer to win NCAA gold and the fifth men’s foilist, joining the company of Charles Higgs-Coulthard (’84), Meinhardt, Pat Gerard (’77) and Andy Bonk (’79). DeSmet also becomes the first freshman foilist to win the title since Higgs-Coulthard beat Wayne State’s Stefan Kogler in 1984.
Zuck ended his sabre pool with a record of 18-5 overall, also earning the three seed in the table of four. In his semifinal bout, he squared off against the two seed and ’08 NCAA Champion Aleksander Ochocki of Penn State. The two fought a bout with several back-and-forth runs, but Zuck had the final run, earning the last four touches to post a 15-13 win. In the final, he met reigning NCAA Champion Daryl Homer of St. John’s. The bout came down to the final touch, squared at 14-14, with Homer grabbing the point to retain his title. The finish for Zuck marks his best career finish at the championships.
Patrick Ghattas was the last Irish men’s sabreist to compete in the title bout, falling to Tim Hagamen of Harvard, 15-14. This also was the first time since ’05 that the Irish placed two men in championship bouts, when Michel Sobieraj won the epee title and Ghattas finished second in sabre.
For DeSmet and Zuck’s efforts both earned first team All-America honors, given to the top four finishers in each weapon.
Reggie Bentley teamed with DeSmet in foil to earn 34 points combined in the weapon. The junior ended his pool play round with a record of 16-7 and a +29 indicator. Bentley went 5-4 on day two and ended alone in fifth place. The 34 points for the Irish foilists was second only to Penn State’s 40 points. He earned his first All-American recognition, making the second team by placing in the fifth through eighth range.
Teaming with Zuck in sabre was senior Barron Nydam, who helped the duo finish in a tie for first for most points by a squad with 33. The win total tied both Penn State and St. John’s. Nydam individually finished with a record of 15-8 for a sixth-place finish and second team All-America honors. On the day, he finished with a record of 5-4 after sweeping his final three bouts against Ohio State’s Michael Douville (5-2) and Rhys Douglas (5-3) as well as Wayne State’s Jakub Gibczynski (5-2). With his second team All-America status, Nydam becomes the 19th four-time All-American in program history.
James Kaull and Brent Kelly ended their tournament in 14th and 16th, respectively, in men’s epee. Kaull concluded with a record of 12-11 after finishing day two with a 3-6 record, while Kelly ended 11-12 after ending Friday with an identical 3-6 ledger. Ohio State’s 30 points led the way in epee amongst the teams.
Women’s round robin play begins tomorrow (March 26) and will conclude on Sunday. Following the completion of the round robin rounds, the top-four finishers in each women’s weapon will fence simultaneous semifinal 15-touch bouts, with the winners fencing to determine the champion and the losers being awarded a tie for third place. An institution’s place in the championship will be based on points earned by each individual win.
|16||Wayne State (Mich.)||11||0||0||11|
|T-17||New York University||9||0||9||0|
|23||UC San Diego||6||0||0||6|