DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke men’s and women’s fencing teams are set to kick off the 2019 season Sunday, Jan. 13 at the Penn State Duals in the White Building on the campus of Penn State. Both squads will match up against the Nittany Lions, Columbia, Haverford, North Carolina and Yale while the Blue Devil women will also square off against Temple.
The Blue Devils are coming off a historic 2018 season as the then ninth-ranked Duke men made history on Feb. 24, cruising to a 19-8 victory over the second-ranked team in the country, Notre Dame, and also defeating 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 seventh-ranked Blue Devil men knocked off three ranked teams a year ago in No. 5 Penn State, No. 10 Stanford and No. 2 Notre Dame at the conference championships while the 10th-ranked Blue Devil women downed three ranked teams in No. 8 Northwestern, No. 7 Temple and No. 1 Notre Dame.
The men’s saber squad will feature a slightly different look with the departure of two-time All-America honoree Pascual Di Tella and will send junior Duncan De Caire, sophomore Ping Ping Kitsiriboon, redshirt sophomore Ben Stone and freshman Terence Lee into action Sunday. The women’s lineup features junior Lindsay Sapienza as the lone returner and welcomes freshmen Alex Gorman, Sarah Hung and Brenda Yang.
2018 ACC men’s epee gold medalist and ACC Fencer of the Year Bryn Hammarberg looks to headline the epee squad this season alongside junior Aidan McGinnis, sophomore Amit Sarma and freshman Joe Choo. The women will be represented by senior Claudia Wrampelmeier, sophomore Maria Papadopoulos and rookies Huda Aldadah and Ava Navarro.
Wrapping up the team for the first meet of the season are experienced foil squads for both sides. Juniors Eoin Gronningsater and Jonathan Schwartzman and sophomores Brycen Rushing and Austin Li will spearhead the men’s contingent while seniors Kristen Coury and Rhiannon Harvey, sophomore Julia Gianneschi and rookie Zoe Superville will compete for the women.
Gronningsater is coming off collecting All-America accolades and was named ACC Fencer of the Year while Rushing qualified for the NCAA Championships as a freshman. Harvey and Gianneschi also punched their tickets to the national stage as Harvey was named ACC Fencer of the Year for women’s foil.