Fencing:Irish claim top spot in poll
BY MATT LOZAR
Light up Grace Hall, there's a new No. 1 team at Notre Dame.
After defeating No. 4 Ohio State 16-11 Jan. 25, former No. 1 Penn State 15-12 Feb. 1 and former No. 6 Stanford 19-8 last weekend, the Irish were in line for the top spot in the country. When the national rankings compiled by the United States Coaches Fencing Association were published Thursday, that claim came true.
"We are very happy. We worked hard during the whole year so we are satisfied," Notre Dame coach Janusz Bednarski said. "It doesn't warrant anything more than fame at the moment. It is good to have it, but we will continue to work hard."
During the past two seasons, the mens team has ascended to the top spot in the country heading into the national championships in March. Each year, the Irish have failed to win the national title, finishing third each year.
"I know we are fencing very well and at nationals, it makes our position even harder. It is different than throughout the year," Bednarski said. "At nationals, teams go to less fencers. It makes it harder and less predictable and more random results. This position is getting us extra motivation to work harder and keep fighting."
With a 19-0 record this season, the Notre Dame mens team has won 78 consecutive matches dating back to its last loss on Jan. 23, 2000. Notre Dame's streak is third-longest in school history behind the 98 match streak set from 1984-88 and the school-record 122- match streak set from 1975-1980.
The womens team dropped from second to third in the latest poll after losing dual matches to No. 1 Penn State and No. 4 Ohio State.
Both the mens and womens team close out the regular season at next weekend's Michigan State duals.
All Sports Stories for Friday, February 14, 2003