COLUMBUS, Ohio – Duke junior Becca Ward won her second national championship after defeating Princeton’s Eliza Stone 15-12 in the finals of the 2011 NCAA Fencing Women’s Saber Championship on the final day of the tournament on Sunday at Ohio State University.
With the title bout tied at 12-12 in the first-to-15-points final, Ward locked in and scored the final three touches to give Duke its third individual NCAA Fencing Championship and its first multiple winner. Ward’s title run garnered 19 of Duke’s 74 team points and vaulted Duke into ninth place in the team standings.
Ward entered the day in fifth place after the first four rounds on Saturday, but won nine straight bouts in Sunday morning’s round-robin to move into second place. With a spot among the top four in the 24-saber field, Ward earned a trip to the semifinals where she defeated Harvard’s Caroline Vloka 15-11 to move on to the finals. The bout between Ward and Vloka was a rematch of the 2009 and 2010 NCAA Women’s Saber Championship matches, which Ward won 15-4 in 2009 and Vloka won 15-13 in 2010.
Ward becomes the first Duke fencer to win multiple national championships, the ninth women’s fencer in NCAA history to win two NCAA titles and only the second women’s saber to achieve that feat. The only other fencer to win two NCAA Saber Championships was Ward’s 2008 Olympic teammate Sada Jacobson, who won the event in 2001 and 2002 at Yale before teaming up with Ward to win a pair of Olympic medals in Beijing in the last Summer Olympic Games.
With the victory, Ward also becomes an All-America for the third straight year and is one of a school-record four Duke fencers to earn All-America status at the 2011 NCAA Championship. Along with Ward, sophomore women’s epee Emily D'Agostino (10th place), junior men’s epee Jonathan Parker (7th) and senior men’s foil Dorian Cohen (11th place) each earned All-America honors this year. D’Agostino placed 10th and was named All-America for the second straight year after posting a 12-11 record in her seven rounds of competition.