DURHAM, N.C. – The sixth-ranked Duke fencing team will be well-represented this weekend at the NCAA Fencing Championships as the Blue Devils are sending a program-record 10 into action to compete March 21-24 in Cleveland, Ohio.
The Blue Devils set to compete are Huda Aldadah (epee), Julia Gianneschi (foil), Alex Gorman (saber), Eoin Gronningsater (foil), Bryn Hammarberg (epee), Ping Ping Kitsiriboon (saber), Maria Papadopoulos (epee), Brycen Rushing (foil), Lindsay Sapienza (saber) and Zoe Superville (foil).
The championship, which crowns six individual NCAA champions as well as the combined team champion, will be held at the Wolstein Center and is hosted by Cleveland State.
At the NCAA Fencing Championships, fencers will compete in a round-robin format of five-touch bouts. After the round-robin, the top-four finishers will advance to a single-elimination bracket of 15-touch bouts. A combined men’s and women’s team champion will be determined by the points earned by each individual fencer, with a student-athlete earning one point for each victory during the championships. The men will compete Thursday and Friday, followed by the women Saturday and Sunday.
A live feed of the semifinal and final bouts will be available on ESPN3 or the WatchESPN App beginning at 1 p.m. ET on both Friday and Sunday. The semifinals and finals, along with other championships highlights, will air on ESPNU at 1 p.m. ET on April 3. For more information about the championships, log onto NCAA.com.
2019 marks the fourth time qualifying for NCAAs for Hammarberg and Gronningsater’s junior year marks the third trip to the national stage. Sapienza qualifies for the second time in her Duke career while Gianneschi and Rushing return to NCAAs for the second-consecutive year. Duke features five newcomers, including Aldadah, Gorman and Superville.
The sixth-ranked men have knocked off two ranked teams this year in No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 7 Ohio State at the Northwestern Duals while the sixth-ranked women defeated three ranked foes. The Blue Devil women defeated No. 10 Temple, No. 6 Princeton and No. 5 Ohio State at Northwestern.
The Blue Devils have been well-represented at the NCAA Championships during head coach Alex Beguinet’s tenure in Durham, sending at least one Duke fencer to the national meet for 25 consecutive years and 33 out of his 34 seasons at the helm of the program.
At least four Blue Devils have made the trip to the NCAA Championships the past 12 campaigns, with this year’s 10 student-athletes setting a program record. Duke’s qualifiers this season pushes the total number under Beguinet to 131, an average of 3.85 per year.
Bryn Hammarberg | Senior | Epee | Maplewood, N.J.
Hammarberg looks to capture All-America accolades for the second time in his career at his last NCAAs this weekend. Hammarberg collected the honor in 2017 and was named ACC Fencer of the Year for epee in 2016 and 2018. A year ago, Hammarberg capped his junior year in 20th on the national stage. Recently, Hammarberg finished seventh at the ACC Championships and fifth at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Regional. Hammarberg leads the men’s epee squad with 46 wins.
Eoin Gronningsater | Junior | Foil | Brooklyn, N.Y.
Gronningsater headlined the 2018 NCAA Championships as he garnered All-America accolades with a fifth-place finish in foil, earning the first All-America honor for a Duke male foilist since 2011. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native looks to become the first Blue Devil foilist to capture back-to-back All-America honors since Dorian Cohen in 2010-11. Gronningsater placed fourth at ACCs and first at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Regional. Gronningsater owns an impressive 49-7 ledger.
Lindsay Sapienza | Junior | Saber | Bardonia, N.Y.
Sapienza returns to the national stage for the first time since her freshman year where she finished 22nd overall. As a freshman, Sapienza captured silver at ACCs and this year, finished eighth in the individual portion of the conference championships and seventh at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Regional. Sapienza owns 55 wins as a junior, which leads the entire team.
Julia Gianneschi | Sophomore | Foil | Atlanta, Ga.
Gianneschi qualifies for the second-consecutive year as a foilist and looks to become the first Blue Devil female to capture All-America accolades in foil. As a rookie, Gianneschi placed 19th on the national stage. This season, Gianneschi finished seventh at the ACC Championships and sixth at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Regional. Gianneschi boasts 49 victories to lead the women’s foil squad.
Ping Ping Kitsiriboon | Sophomore | Saber | Bangkok, Thailand
Kitsiriboon qualifies for the NCAA Championships for the first time in his Duke career. The sophomore placed 15th at the ACC Championships before his eighth-place finish at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Regional earlier in March. Kitsiriboon was named ACC Fencer of the Week following his 23-4 showing at the Northwestern Duals and leads the saberists team with 49 victories.
Maria Papadopoulos | Sophomore | Epee | Ashburn, Va.
Papadopoulos qualifies for NCAAs for the first time in her career. The Ashburn, Va., native captured bronze at the ACC Championships in February and finished in sixth at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Regional. Papadopoulos owns 31 victories as a sophomore.
Brycen Rushing | Sophomore | Foil | Carrollton, Texas
Rushing qualifies for the second-consecutive year as a foilist as he placed 17th at the NCAA Championships a year ago. Rushing placed fifth at the ACC Championships before his sixth-place showing at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Regional. Rushing leads the men’s team with 50 victories as a sophomore.
Huda Aldadah | Freshman | Epee | Peoria, Ill.
Aldadah has had a successful rookie campaign as a Blue Devil with 45 victories. Aldadah finished the ACC Championships in seventh and the NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Regional in seventh, as well.
Alex Gorman | Freshman | Saber | Wellesley, Mass.
Gorman owns the second best number of victories on the women’s saber team with 40 as she placed seventh at the conference championships. Gorman followed up her ACC performance with a sixth-place showing at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Regional earlier in March.
Zoe Superville | Freshman | Foil | Woodmere, N.Y.
Superville captured bronze at the ACC Championships as a rookie and owns 42 victories this season. Superville followed up her bronze-medal performance with a second-place finish at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Regional.
Schedule of Events
(All Time Eastern)
9 a.m. - Men's Foil Rounds 1-3
11 a.m. - Men's Epee Rounds 1-3
1:30 p.m. - Men's Saber Rounds 1-3
9 a.m. - Men's Foil, Epee and Saber Rounds 4-5
1:30 p.m. - Men's Semifinal and Championship bouts in order of epee, foil, saber
9 a.m. - Women's Foil Rounds 1-3
11 a.m. - Women's Epee Rounds 1-3
1:30 p.m. - Women's Saber Rounds 1-3
9 a.m. - Women's Foil, Epee and Saber Rounds 4-5
1:30 p.m. - Women's Semifinal and Championship bouts in order of epee, foil, saber