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Julia Lee clinches automatic bid to NCAA championship, 8 other Duke fencers post top-10 finishes at regionals

<p>The Blue Devils will find out who will join Lee at the NCAA championship&nbsp;in the coming days.&nbsp;</p>

The Blue Devils will find out who will join Lee at the NCAA championship in the coming days. 

After both the men's and women's teams notched second-place finishes at the ACC championships Feb. 26, the Blue Devils looked to continue competing well—this time as individuals.

The Duke fencers did just that Saturday, as nine of 20 Blue Devils finished in the top 10 of their respective events at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Regional in Easton, Pa. Senior Julia Lee garnered Duke's lone first-place finish at the competition with her performance in the women's foil and clinched an automatic bid to the NCAA championship.

Lee was solid all weekend and finished 8-3 in the final round of pool play to advance to an elimination final against Pennsylvania's Danielle Ferdon. The senior captain then dominated her opponent in the final bout by a 5-1 ledger to secure her first career appearance at NCAAs. 

Lee's victory highlighted a strong weekend for the foil—three of the four foils on the men's team also finished in the top 10. 

Leading the pack for the men's team were freshmen Jonathan Schwartzman and Eoin Gronningsater, who placed second and fourth, respectively, after advancing to the final round of competition. Although Schwartzman won 8-of-11 bouts in pool play and Gronningsater ended with a 7-4 record, the freshman duo fell short, as Princeton's Thomas Dudey came away with the title. Junior Jan Maceczek finished eighth to give the team a third top-10 finish in the event. 

Not to be outdone, the Blue Devil men's sabers had success of their own with a pair of top-10 finishes. After winning an individual ACC championship, junior Pascual Di Tella finished fourth overall and went 8-3 in the final round. Freshmen Duncan DeCaire and Agoston Walter also advanced to the final round with DeCaire’s 5-6 ledger good for a seventh-place finish and Walter’s 3-8 outing putting him 11th.

In the women's saber, freshman Lindsey Sapienza finished 10th overall after going 4-7 in her final-round bouts. One of the more surprising finishes of the weekend on the women's side was in the epee as senior Rita Somogyi finished 32nd overall. After coming away with a silver medal at the individual women's epee at the ACC championship almost two weeks ago, Somogyi was unable to advance from the first-round pool with a 2-3 record.  

Sophomores Bryn Hammarberg and Camille Esnault were the two Duke epees that finished in the top 10. Although it remains to be seen whether either will advance to the NCAA championships, Hammarberg's top-10 finish was his second in as many competitions. 

The Blue Devils will now wait to hear who will join Lee in South Bend, Ind., for the national meet. The full list of fencers for the NCAA championship, which will be held March 23-26, will be determined using the results from the other regional competitions and announced later in the week.  

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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