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For the ninth time in the program's history and the first time since 2011, Notre Dame won the 2017 National Collegiate Fencing Championships held the past four days at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis. Until 1990, the NCAA fencing titles were divided into separate categories for the men and women, with the Fighting Irish men capturing No. 1 in 1977, 1978 and 1986, while the women won it all in 1987.
Since the NCAA's combination the of the two fencing programs, Notre Dame has won the national title in 1994, 2003, 2005, 2011 and now this season.
The men competed first on Thursday and Friday (March 23-24) and barely held first place over Ohio State at the end of their foil, epee and sabre events.
Then on Saturday and Sunday (March 25-26), the women, led by two individual national champions, ran away with the meet. The final five and their point totals were as follows:
1. Notre Dame, 186 points
2. Ohio State, 161 points
3. Columbia, 152 points
4. Princeton, 145 points
5. Harvard, 124 points
Notre Dame's final 186 points were the most for the Irish in a title victory and the most by a winning team since Penn State's 191 in 2010.
Winning individual national titles for the women were Lee Kiefer (foil) and Francesca Russo (sabre). Epeeist Amanda Sirico earned first-team All-American notice when she finished tied for third, while Sabrina Massialas was a second-team All-American by placing fifth.
Kiefer made history as a four-time national champion, becoming only the third individual in NCAA annals, man or woman, to win four times.
Among the Fighting Irish men, Ariel Simmons earned first-team All-American with a third-place tie in epee.
In foil, Kristjan Archer (sixth) and Axel Kiefer (eighth) were second-team All-Americans.
In sabre, Jonah Shainberg (fifth) and Jonathan Fitzgerald (eighth) also earned second-team All-American honors.
Head coach Gia Kvaratskhelia, who was an assistant coach on Janusz Bednarski's staff during the 2011 title run, now has his first as the man in charge.
“It show our kids we are moving forward in the right way," he said. "Winning will provide motivation to those that might head into the gym tomorrow. They will want to work hard to relive this feeling of jubilation with their teammates.”
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