EASTON, Pa. - Duke senior saber
Becca Ward won her fourth consecutive Mid-Atlantic/South Regional Championship
and headlines six Blue Devils who earned top-five finishes at the
NCAA-qualifying event held at Lafayette College on Saturday.
Duke is now guaranteed a minimum of six NCAA qualifiers with the possibility of more after the NCAA announces the at-large bids next week. Along with Ward, men's epees Dylan Nollner and Tristan Jones, women's epees Sarah Collins and Emily D'Agostino and men's saber Anthony Lin earned bids to the NCAA Championships.
With the top finish, Ward will have the opportunity to vie for her third national championship. The 2009 and 2011 NCAA Champion and the 2010 runner-up, Ward is the first fencer in Duke history to win four consecutive Mid-Atlantic/South Regional Championships.
Along with Ward's first-place finish, Duke's epee trio of Nollner, Jones and Jonathan Parker took three of the top four spots in their field. Parker, who finished third, will serve as an alternate for Nollner and Jones. Nollner, a sophomore who recently earned a spot on the US Junior National Team following a silver-medal finish at the Junior Olympics, claimed second at Regionals on Saturday, improving on the third-place finish he had as a freshman. Seniors Parker and Jones followed in third and fourth place, both claiming their highest finishes in their four years at Duke. It will be the second NCAA trip for all three epees.
In women's epee action, Collins took fourth place in her first regional to earn an NCAA bid. Fellow epee D'Agostino also notched her third straight top-10 regional finish, placing sixth. A two-time All-American, D'Agostino will move on to her third consecutive NCAA Championship and, for only the second time in school history, Duke will send two women's epees to the tournament.
Also notching top-10 finishes were junior men's saber Anthony Lin (8th), senior men's epee Nathaniel DeLucia (9th) and junior women's saber Sean Cadley (10th). Lin has placed in the top 10 in all three of his regional trips and earned his third straight trip to the NCAAs. Cadley, meanwhile, is a candidate for an at-large NCAA spot.
Along with Cadley, Timothy Evans (13th, men's saber), Rod Shayesteh (13th, men's foil) and Chris Sullivan (14th, men's foil) are all candidates for at-large spots. They will learn their postseason fate on Wednesday, March 14.
Duke Fencing Results
March 10, 2012
Easton, Pa. (Lafayette College)
* designates automatic NCAA bid
^ designated NCAA alternate
13. Rod Shayesteh
14. Chris Sullivan
8. *Anthony Lin
13. Timothy Evans
15. Eugene Chung
26. Colin Colter
2. *Dylan Nollner
3. ^Jonathan Parker
4. *Tristan Jones
9. Nathaniel DeLucia
14. Lily Shepard
17. Jessica Kang
23. Dana Rosen
27. Elizabeth Malcolm
1. *Becca Ward
10. Sean Cadley
12. Kodia Baye-Cigna
4. *Sarah Collins
6. *Emily D'Agostino
19. Mary Tung
31. Lauren DeLucia