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Three top-15 finishes round out Duke fencing's season at NCAA championships

Senior Isabella Barna captured All-America honors with a sixth-place finish

<p>Three Blue Devils finished in the top 15 last weekend at the NCAA championships, helping Duke finish in the top 10 for the sixth time in the last seven seasons.</p>

Three Blue Devils finished in the top 15 last weekend at the NCAA championships, helping Duke finish in the top 10 for the sixth time in the last seven seasons.

Powered by two underclassmen and a veteran making her final appearance in a Duke uniform, the Blue Devils turned in another top-10 performance at the NCAA championships.

Duke scored 58 points to finish ninth at the four-day event in Waltham, Mass., buoyed by three top-15 finishes and a pair of All-America performances.  Senior epee Isabella Barna took sixth place to end her Blue Devil career as an All-American, sophomore Pascual Di Tella claimed 13th in the men’s saber—one place shy of All-America honors—and freshman Bryn Hammarberg concluded his first-ever national championships with a 14th-place finish in men’s epee.

The ninth-place team finish was the second straight for Duke, which has finished in the top 10 in six of the past seven seasons.

Barna won 10 of her 15 bouts on the opening day of competition, heading into the second day in third place. The Bend, Ore., native went 3-5 Friday and tumbled three spots down the leaderboard, but finished well ahead of her 19th-place finish from the 2015 NCAA championships.

Sophomore saber Haley Fisher and freshman foil Kristen Coury each finished in 18th place in their respective weapon categories after combining for 16 victories during the two days of competition.

On the men’s side, Di Tella headed into Sunday’s final day of competition in 17th place after seven victories during the first day. But the Buenos Aires native—who finished second at the NCAA regional competition—stormed back on the final day, winning five of his eight bouts to move up five spots on the leaderboard. Di Tella’s overall ledger left him short of replicating his fifth-place finish from his first season in Durham.

Hammarberg was in contention for All-America honors after posting an 8-7 ledger in his first action on the biggest of stages. But the Maplewood, N.J., native added just two more wins Sunday, dropping to 14th place.

Senior Charles Copti rounded out his Duke career with a 20th-place finish in the men’s saber, notching seven victories, three of which came on the final day of competition.

Duke finished second out of the four ACC schools competing in Waltham, trailing only Notre Dame, which finished fifth with 160 points.

The ninth-place showing brings the Blue Devils’ season to a close, one that saw sophomore saber Jennifer Ling become the first Duke ACC champion since 1973 and first-ever female ACC Blue Devil champion. 

Columbia-Barnard won the national title with 174 points, seven points clear of runner-up Ohio State.

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