DURHAM, N.C. – Following one of the most successful campaigns in program history, Duke fencing head coach Alex Beguinet announced Thursday the 2019 fencing slate. The spring slate features four regular season meets, including Duke’s annual home meet and the ACC Fencing Championships before qualifying Blue Devils compete on the national stage at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Regional and the NCAA Championship.
Both the men and women will kick off the 2019 season Jan. 13 at the Penn State Duals before heading back to the state of Pennsylvania for the Philadelphia Invitational Jan. 19, hosted by UPenn. At last year’s Philadelphia Invitational, the Blue Devil men produced a 4-1 showing on the strips while the women went 3-2.
The Blue Devils will start the month of February at the Northwestern Duals Feb. 2-3 before returning to Durham Feb. 9-10 to compete in front of their home crowd.
The final two meets of the 2018 regular season proved to be breakthrough competitions for the Blue Devils. Both squads produced stellar performances at the Northwestern Duals as the men went 9-1 with their lone loss coming to second-ranked Ohio State while the women posted a 10-1 ledger and only falling to the fifth-ranked Buckeyes.
The ninth-ranked Duke men produced an undefeated performance on their home strips, including a victory over fifth-ranked Penn State (16-11), while the 10th-ranked women went 3-1 on the day as they topped seventh-ranked Temple (16-11).
Duke will turn its attention to the postseason beginning with the ACC Championships Feb. 23-24, hosted by Boston College. The 2018 conference championships proved to be a historic one for the Blue Devils as the men captured their first ACC title in program history.
The Blue Devil men 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) in 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 conference in the 2014-15 season.
Next on the slate for Duke’s qualifiers will be the NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Regionals March 9 in Lafayette, Pa. At last year’s meet, 10 Blue Devils placed in the top 10 in their respective weapons, highlighted by recent graduate Di Tella and Brycen Rushing’s second-place performance.
The 2019 campaign will conclude at the NCAA Championships March 21-24, hosted by Penn State. Six of Duke’s seven 2018 national qualifiers return this season, including 2018 All-America honoree Gronningsater, Julia Gianneschi, Hammarberg, Rhiannon Harvey, Rushing and Agoston Walter.