DURHAM, N.C. – Following a historic Duke fencing season, the 2018 men’s team received their ACC Championship rings as current and former Blue Devils celebrated their conference title over the weekend.
2018 alumni Alec Ajnsztajn, Pascual Di Tella, Jared Garland, Sam Goodman, Dean Ischiropoulos, Jan Maceczek, Dakota Nollner and Peter Yang returned to Durham for Homecoming Weekend to celebrate with current fencers.
The then ninth-ranked Duke men made history on February 24 as they cruised to a 19-8 victory over the second-ranked team in the country, Notre Dame, and also defeated North Carolina (19-8) and Boston College (24-3) en route to the crown.
Duke used an 8-1 advantage in epee and a 7-2 record in foil to hand defending national champion Notre Dame its first fencing loss in an ACC Championship since joining the league in the 2014-15 season.
The men were highlighted by foilist Jonathan Schwartzman’s perfect 8-0 showing to lead the foil squad to an undefeated afternoon on the strips. All-American Bryn Hammarberg spearheaded the epeeists with an 8-1 overall record followed by Dean Ischiropoulos (7-2). Agoston Walter went 7-1 on the day to lead the saberists.
The Duke men finished a historic year with a 23-4 overall record as former Blue Devil Pascual Di Tella, current junior Eoin Gronningsater and senior Bryn Hammarberg swept ACC Fencer of the Year honors. Di Tella also became just the fourth Blue Devil fencer to receive Academic All-America recognition.
Individually at the conference championship, Hammarberg registered his first ACC title in epee while Di Tella and Gronningsater collected silver in their respective weapons as each picked up All-ACC recognition.
As a team, Duke placed 10th at the 2018 NCAA Championships, marking the eighth time in the past nine seasons that the Blue Devils have placed in the top 10. The then seventh-ranked men sent five to compete on the national stage in Di Tella, Gronningsater, Hammarberg, Brycen Rushing and Agoston Walter as Di Tella and Gronningsater notched All-America accolades. Di Tella captured his second All-America honor to round out his stellar Duke career while Gronningsater’s accolade marked the first for a Blue Devil male foilist since 2011.