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Thursday, June 13, 2024
The Observer

Fencing: Playing for Teddy

The Irish will be fighting for more than their undefeated season this weekend. Notre Dame will have opportunity to vanquish the top competitors in the Midwest, and better yet do it at home in the Purcell Pavilion.

This time the Notre Dame fencing team will have one person in mind as they take to the strips Saturday: senior Teddy Hodges.

It was just months ago that an illness struck down the promising young fencer after his sophomore year with the Irish, and he soon found himself in the fight of his life.

"[Ted] had a stroke and was frankly speaking, dying. He was in a coma and there was a necessity to replace his heart," Irish coach Janusz Bednarski said. "We prayed the whole semester for his health and today he visited us and informed us that he's getting better and he plans to return in the fall to continue his studies."

Bednarski called it a miracle that Ted was able to receive a transplant after waiting for so long on the donor list, much less be able to return to visit his team including brother, freshman foilist Grant Hodges, for their annual home invitational.

The event will be the final competition of the regular season before the Midwest Conference championships in March in which the team will have the opportunity to gain position in their pursuit of the elusive National Championship. It will feature familiar foe No. 5 Northwestern, whose women's squad is certain to be a formidable challenge to the young Irish squad.

The men's team has showed remarkable progress throughout the year and will have an opportunity to continue their momentum against rivals Cleveland State and Wayne State, whose epee unit gave the Irish men a run for their money last week in Evanston, Ill.

However great the margin of victory, it is always important to bear in mind the value of team support that motivates athletes to overcome whatever obstacles may be thrown their way in the face of doubt that is symbolized by Ted Hodges.

"All results this weekend will be dedicated to Ted," Bednarski said.