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Duke fencing logs another top-10 finish at NCAA championship

<p>The Blue Devils have finished ninth at NCAAs each of the last three years.&nbsp;</p>

The Blue Devils have finished ninth at NCAAs each of the last three years. 

The Blue Devils sent a program-record eight men and women to the NCAA championship in Indianapolis, and despite an underclassmen-laden squad, they brought home their third straight ninth-place finish. 

Duke competed Thursday through Sunday at Indiana Farmers Coliseum, placing ninth with 82 points after its men's and women's totals were combined. The Blue Devils took second at the ACC championship on both the men's and women's sides, and the team that beat them at Cameron Indoor Stadium surged again this week as Notre Dame captured its ninth national title with 186 points. 

Head coach Alex Beguinet's team has finished in the top 10 at nationals in seven of the past eight seasons. 

Youth has been key for the Blue Devils this season, and the success of their underclassmen continued. Six of the eight Duke fencers competing at nationals were either freshmen or sophomores, leaving bright hopes for the future.

Three of the eight Blue Devils in action were women. Rookie Lindsay Sapienza was the lone women’s saber and finished 22nd overall out of 24 competitors with seven victories in 23 bouts. 

Senior Julia Lee had a slightly better performance in her final collegiate outing. The Montville, N.J., native ended competition as the 15th-best foil in the nation following an eight-win outing.

Lastly, sophomore Camille Esnault led the Blue Devils with 11 victories in epee competition. Esnault finished her season on a strong note and will be looking to build off it in the coming years after capturing All-American honors.

On the men's side, junior Pascual Di Tella capped his season with a 21st-place finish in saber competition in which he got six victories after finishing first at the ACC championship. Fellow saber Duncan DeCaire used his late-season momentum to fare a bit better, taking 13th overall to cap off a stellar freshman season.

Two more rookies earned top-15 finishes in the foil competition. Eoin Gronningsater and Jonathan Schwartzman finished neck and neck by taking 13th and 14th, respectively. Both men ended with 12 victories after successful outings at nationals.

The Blue Devils' highest-ranked fencer was sophomore Bryn Hammarberg. The Maplewood, N.J., native ended the season as the nation’s 10th-best epee after racking up 13 victories in competition. Like the majority of his teammates, Hammarberg will be back next season looking to climb even higher in the rankings.

Michael Model

Digital Strategy Director for Vol. 115, Michael was previously Sports Editor for Vol. 114 and Assistant Blue Zone Editor for Vol. 113.  Michael is a senior majoring in Statistical Science and is interested in data analytics and using data to make insights.


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