DURHAM, N.C. - The postseason begins for Duke fencing this weekend when the Blue Devils travel to Easton, Pa., to compete in the Mid-Atlantic/South Regionals on the campus of Lafayette University.
The regional competition serves as a qualifier to the NCAA Championships, which take place on March 22-25 in Columbus, Ohio. Duke has sent at least three fencers to the NCAA Championships in 11 consecutive seasons and has several eligible fencers competing at regionals this weekend.
Two-time NCAA Saber Champion Becca Ward will look to capture her fourth consecutive regional title, having won the event in each of her first three seasons. Ward, the 2009 and 2011 NCAA Champion and also the runner-up in 2010, set Duke's single-season wins record this year with a 81-1 record. She won the Mid-Atlantic/South Regional as a freshman, sophomore and junior and will look to become the first Duke fencer in school history to win four times.
Ward is one of 10 active Duke fencers - including all three men's epees - who have notched top-10 finishes at regionals. Fellow women's fencer Emily D'Agostino, two-time All-American epee, has twice placed in the top six at regionals including a career-best fourth-place finish in 2011. D'Agostino, a junior,
On the men's side, 2011 NCAA qualifiers Anthony Lin, Dylan Nollner and Jonathan Parker are Duke's frontrunners heading into Saturday's competition. Nollner, an epee who recently earned a spot in the US Junior National Team, posted a third-place finish at regionals as a freshman. Lin, meanwhile, placed sixth in 2011 and was the runner-up in 2010, while Parker has placed among the top 10 in all three seasons and parlayed last season's 10th-place finish into a seventh-place showing at the NCAA Championships.
The epee trio of Parker, Jones and senior Tristan Jones all have a shot to qualify for the NCAA Championships. Jones will also look to reach his second NCAA Championships after participating in the event as a sophomore. Jones placed eighth at regionals in his first two seasons.