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En Garde

Nov 20, 2012, 7:23 PM EDT

Frank Dyer (swimming) battles Mike Golic Jr. (football) on the fencing piste. Frank Dyer (swimming) battles Mike Golic Jr. (football) on the fencing piste.

When I was younger, my mother tried to get me involved in fencing, but I guess it never stuck. But it’s an underrated sport that’s more complicated than two people poking each other with swords.

The Notre Dame fencers understand that. Last night, the Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) held an open-forum to educate all student-athletes about the sport of fencing and also to let a few student athletes duel.

Senior fencer Marta Stepien, who helped organize the event said of its conception, “We kind of wanted to do something exciting for the last SAAC forum before Thanksgiving. We knew a lot of students would be going home, so we wanted to do something creative, and we just started mulling over the idea of showing everyone our fencing facility because this is probably the best fencing facility in the entire nation right now. So we wanted to do something cool with that, and we figured what better way than to do a little demonstration and then what better way to get students involved and to actually understand the sport than to actually try it? So we did a little raffle and then came up with this idea!”

After Notre Dame fencers explained the sport and did a demonstration, the non-fencing athlete bouts began. Each athlete was coached by a fencer. The bouts were between Cari Roccaro (women’s soccer) and Jaclyn Winkel (women’s track and field), Mike Golic Jr. (football) and Frank Dyer (men’s swimming and diving), Blas Moros (men’s tennis) and Jeni Houser (volleyball), and Grant Van De Casteele (men’s soccer) and Quinn Gleason (women’s tennis). The victors (the first athlete to 5 hits) were Winkel, Golic Jr., Moros, and Van De Casteele.

The event seemed to be a huge success in that it was fun, exciting, and helped the student-athletes relax and take their minds off their busy schedules if even for a little while.

It also made me realize that I should have listened to my mother all those years ago, because maybe then I could have been a Notre Dame fencer.

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From left: Jaclyn Winkel (track & field), Quinn Gleason (tennis), Cari Roccaro (soccer), Blas Moros (tennis), Frank Dyer (swimming), Mike Golic Jr. (football) and Jeni Houser (volleyball) were among the student-athletes who took part in the event.

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