Notre Dame notched its second national championship of the school year Sunday afternoon as the fencing team held off Penn State during the final day of competition in Columbus, Ohio.
The sword-Fighting Irish have won the second most national championships as any team on campus with eight trophies in the past 35 years. The titles came in 1977, ’78, ’86, ’87, ’94, 2003, ’05 and now 2011. The last three championships have all come under the tutelage of head coach Janusz Bednarski. Bednarski has made his teams into perennial contenders for the better part of the past decade.
Notre Dame’s first national champion in the 2010-11 school year came when the women’s soccer team knocked off Stanford for their third title in program history.
This year it was freshman foiler Rachel Beck who iced the victory with a 3-2 overtime victory over her opponent from Harvard.
Junior Courtney Hurley also knocked off one of Harvard’s sword-fighting beekeepers to win her first career individual gold medal.Hurley went 19-4 in the competition before winning an 8-7 decision over Noam Mills in the finals. If that name sounds familiar to you, you probably are a little too into collegiate fencing. Nonetheless, it is because Courtney’s sister Kelley also won an individual championship for the Irish in 2008.
On the men’s side, freshman Ariel DeSmet won Notre Dame’s only other individual gold medal in the men’s foil on Friday night. DeSmet continued a streak of ending his season on top after winning four straight state championship titles at Reynolds High School in Oregon.