Notre Dame fencers have ACA connection


By Alexis Pearson

The Charter News

This year, Jaime Norville and Natalie Disher are fencing at the University of Notre Dame (UND). Norville is language arts teacher Mary Norville’s daughter, and she briefly attended ACA. Disher graduated from ACA last year.

Fencing is very competitive, and these two work very,  hard, both at sports and their academics according to Mary Norville. The two girls are both doing the pre-med track at Notre Dame. Jamie is in junior year pre-med and Natalie is a pre-med aswel.

Fencing is a complex sport, the way fencing works at a college level is that for the NCAA championship, Sixteen schools competed including Duke, Columbia, Harvard, Yale, and the University of Pennsylvania. The 2017 NCAA Fencing Championships were hosted by Notre Dame at Indianapolis. each school that qualifies sends only their top two fencers in each of the three blades. The three blades are  Epee, Foil, and Saber. Both Natalie and Jaime are both saber fencers for the women’s saber squad., although neither Natalie or Jamie fenced at the Championships.

“I got into fencing in fifth grade at ACA! My coach, Charles Randall, was teaching a beginner’s class there and I wanted to try it. After a couple years of doing that class, I decided to start going to his private club, PDX Fencing, and soon after going there I started competing.” Said Natalie Disher.

Jamie was on the travel team and fenced at several regular season tournaments including Regionals, but not at NCAA finals. Although she did not attend, her points helped Notre Dame qualify. Natalie fenced at several local tournaments which also helped accrue points for Notre Dame.

Fencing is a very competitive sport, and many challenges come with it, “For me, the most challenging part of fencing is the mental aspect. It is really easy to doubt yourself and to be afraid of taking risks, and I have to constantly work on my mental game so it can translate into my performance on the fencing strip. I think that this has helped me learn positive self talk that can translate into things other than my sport. Even though the mental game of fencing is the hardest part for me, I think that is why I like this sport so much. It gives me a challenge that I have to keep overcoming every day.“ said Natalie

Both the men and the women teams won cumulative points winning their titles, and with their combined points, won best team overall. This sport is especially competitive at this level and these two work very, very hard both at sports and their academics.

Natalie shared some insight about her time and favorite memories at Notre Dame,  “There are a lot of memories from my first year, but one that stands out is when our fencing team was traveling to New York for a fencing tournament. We got some time to look around New York the day before we fenced, and my friends and I saw Times Square, the MoMA, the Empire State Building, Grand Central Station, and even got to see a Broadway show that evening. Going to New York was something that I had always wanted to do, and being able to share that experience with my teammates was incredible.”


Notre Dame Fencing page

NCAA Fencing Championship article & photo



Email Interview with  Mary Norville

Email Interview with Natalie Disher