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Alessio Santoro
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Alessio Santoro
Santoro Ties For Third at NCAA Championships
Thursday 03/23/2014  -  Duke Sports Information
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DURHAM, N.C. – Duke senior epeeist Alessio Santoro reached the medal round and tied for third at the NCAA Fencing Championships Sunday at Ohio State University. Duke saber Christopher Monti and epeeist Dylan Nollner also earned All-America honors, joining women’s epeeist Sarah Collins to give Duke a school-record matching four All-Americans in 2014.

Santoro was in first place entering the final-four medal rounds, logging a 17-6 record in the round-robin portion of competition. His 17 wins and +21 touch differential were tops among the epee field and enough to vault him into the medal round where he fell in the semifinal, 15-8, to eventual national epee champion Yevgeniy Karyuchenko of St. John’s. Duke has now had a fencer advance to the medal round in five of the past six seasons.

“I set a goal for myself this season to finish top three at NCAAs,” said Santoro, who led Duke’s epees with a 52-22 record and placed third at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Regional. “I felt like I was consistent as a junior, but the difference from then to this year is that last year at regionals I got crushed by everyone. This year I placed third [at regionals], which set up me well for nationals.”

Santoro’s finish was the highest by a Duke men’s fencer since Jeremy Kahn won the national title in men’s epee in 1996. Santoro becomes the third Blue Devil men’s fencer to post a top-four finish at the NCAA Championships, joining Kahn and Matt Andresen (fourth place in 1989), who were also epee fencers.

“I tried to fence for every point, every touch this weekend," Santoro said. "I was able to fence well against people I didn’t fence well against during the season. I knew I was going up against the big names in fencing this weekend, star athletes from other schools, and I knew I’d have to push myself 120 percent and give nothing less than that.”

Santoro contributed 17 points Duke’s team total, helping the Blue Devils finish in 10th place which marks the program’s fourth top-10 finish in the past five seasons. Duke is the only school among this year’s top 10 with fewer than seven fencers. The top seven team finishers at the event had 10 or more fencers competing.

Duke senior epeeist Dylan Nollner, who placed fifth in 2013, took seventh this year to earn his second straight All-America citation. Nollner posted a 13-10 record overall after going 6-2 on Sunday. The NCAA appearance was the fourth of Nollner’s career, while his two top-10 finishes make him only the fifth Duke men’s fencer to turn in two such performances during his Duke career.

Duke may well have another fencer join that list in the near future, as freshman saber Christopher Monti placed eighth in his first trip to the national championships. Monti, who led Duke with a 62-20 record during the regular season, went 14-11 during his two days of NCAA competition to record the highest finish by a Duke freshman since women’s saber Becca Ward won the national title in 2009 and men’s foilist Dan Cohen placed sixth the same year.

Monti was one of two freshmen Duke sent to Columbus, joining classmate and men’s foilist Joseph Lam. Lam, who led the Duke foils with a 46-28 record heading into regional competition, placed 20th

NCAA Championships
March 20-23, 2014
Columbus, Ohio (Ohio State University)
Duke Results

Women’s Epee
12. Sarah Collins

Men’s Epee
T-3. Alessio Santoro
7. Dylan Nollner

Men’s Saber
7. Christopher Monti

Men’s Foil
20. Joseph Lam

Team Standings
1. Penn State (180)
2. Princeton (159)
3. St. John’s (156)
4. Ohio State (149)
5. Harvard (146)
6. Notre Dame (138)
7. Columbia/Barnard (107)
8. Penn (89)
9. Stanford (82)
10. Duke (62)
11. Sacred Heart (50)
12. Yale (46)
13. Temple (41)
14. Air Force (39)
15. Brown (36)
16. Northwestern (35)
17. Wayne State (17)
18. MIT (24)
19. North Carolina (23)
20. Cornell (20)
21. Brandeis (18)
22. NYU (12)
23. NJIT (8)
24. UC-San Diego (6)
25. Cleveland State (5)

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