DURHAM, N.C. – Five Duke fencers were selected to advance to the NCAA Championships on March 20-23 at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.
Representing Duke will be senior men’s epees Dylan Nollner and Alessio Santoro, freshman men’s foil Joseph Lam, freshman men’s saber Christopher Monti and junior women’s epee Sarah Collins. Nollner and Santoro were the No. 2 and No. 3 finishers at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Regional this past weekend.
Duke has now advanced at least five fencers to the national championships in five straight seasons. Head coach Alex Beguinet has mentored two national champions – Jeremy Kahn (men’s epee – 1994) and Becca Ward (women’s saber – 2009, 2011 and 2012) – and 17 All-America selections. The Blue Devils have sent 89 fencers to the NCAA Championships in Beguinet’s 29 seasons at Duke.
Nollner will be making his fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Championships, becoming only the seventh fencer in school history to reach the national championships in all four years. Nollner finished fifth at last year’s event, falling just one touch shy of advancing to the top-four medal round. He also notched previous finishes of 22nd (2011) and 15th (2012) before earning All-America status in 2013.
Santoro’s appearance at the event will be the first of his career and caps a breakout senior season in which he took third at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Regional and was Duke’s top epee winner with a 52-22 record.
Lam and Monti, both freshmen, led their respective weapons in wins in 2014 and give the Duke men an NCAA representative at every weapon for the first time since 2011. Those two are the first Duke men’s freshmen to qualify for the national championships since Nollner qualified in 2011.
Collins will be making her third consecutive trip to NCAAs after posting a 47-12 record during the regular season. Collins missed Duke’s first two meets of the year but stormed onto the scene with a 29-7 showing at the Northwestern Duals and ended up with the highest winning percentage on the team. She previously finished 13th (2012) and 18th (2013) in her previous trips to NCAAs.