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Send Me A Sign

Mar 2, 2013, 11:39 AM EDT

Marta Stepien (photo by Tim Singler)

Today marks the first day of the Midwest Conference Championships, the first championship held at Notre Dame since the Castellan Family Fencing Center opened last fall.

Any of you who attended meets in past seasons remember that fans watched bouts from in between individual fencing strips. It’s not like that anymore.

The refurbishment features permanent fencing strips and stands for spectators.

“The environment is a little more intense, simply because national tournaments and international tournaments, that’s how it is,” senior sabreuse Marta Stepien said. “Your strip is separated by rails and a curtain, so there’s always that separation between audience and fencer.”

But that’s not a bad thing for spectators, and not only because you are now much more likely to snag a seat.

“When the crowd is intermixed with everyone, when you’re looking around there are a ton of people, you don’t really know who is who, who’s where,” Stepien said. “But now that everyone’s up here you can really tell.”

The fencers still appreciate audience participation. If you want to make their day, Stepien suggests making a sign.

“We love it. My sophomore year, for one of our larger matches in the spring semester, a group of guys came in for one of our fencers, James Kaull, and had his name painted on their stomachs,” Stepien said. “That was awesome, just to have people at our school really support us.”

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