DURHAM, N.C. – A program record 10 Duke fencers have earned invitations to the 2019 NCAA Fencing Championships, as announced Tuesday by the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Fencing Committee. The championships are set for March 21-24 in Cleveland, Ohio and are hosted by Ohio State.
Duke will send a program-best 10 fencers into action, with the previous most being eight in 2017.
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).
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 three freshmen.
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 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.
As a rookie, Rushing placed 17th overall while fellow classmate Gianneschi finished 19th. Hammarberg capped his sophomore year in 2017 with All-America nods with his 10th-place finish.
Gianneschi and Superville will look to become the first Blue Devil female to capture All-America honors in foil.
Last weekend at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Regional meet, Gronningsater and Superville reached the podium for the foil squad with first and second-place finishes, respectively. Hammarberg (fifth), Rushing (sixth), Gorman (sixth), Gianneschi (sixth), Aldadah (seventh), Sapienza (seventh) and Kitsiriboon (eighth) rounded out Duke’s top-10 performances in Pennsylvania.
Fencers will compete in a round-robin format of five-touch bouts. After the round-robin, the top-four finishers in each weapon will fence in semifinal 15-touch bouts, with the winners fencing to determine first and second places, and the non-advancing fencers being awarded a tie for third place.
An institution’s place finish in the championships will be based on points earned by each individual. A team will be awarded one point for each victory by its student-athletes for the duration of the championships.
Ping Ping Kitsiriboon