Sophomore Gillian Litynski led the way as the North Carolina men's and women's fencing squads competed at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Regional Saturday at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa. Litynski, who qualified for the NCAA Championships last year as a freshman, finished fourth overall in women's sabre, which matches her regional finish in 2012.
"It was an interesting season, very mixed results with injuries and other issues, but the team stayed together, worked hard and focused well, and this is a good result for the end of the season," UNC coach Ron Miller said.
"Men's sabre had an outstanding day - we had five athletes who made the round of 18 and had three in the final.
"In women's sabre we had three young fencers who competed and went out in the first round, but they all fenced very well and I was very proud of them. Sara Leung, a senior captain, just missed the round of 18 but she fenced well. And then Gill did her usual thing. She started slowly in the final and then won five or six in a row and she had a good finish.
"In women's epee, Lidea Shahidi and Kelley Hamill fenced very well, both just missing the final. Lidea missed it by a touch. At the same time, her FSF was strong enough, her seed factor was strong enough, she was able to still receive an at-large nomination. She did very well.
"Women's epee in general fenced well, as they have all season. Allie (Mead) had the norovirus right before we left and didn't have a lot of energy but she still just missed the round of 18. Kacie Albert is the one who has had the most serious injuries, and she narrowly missed going out of the preliminary round and that was difficult, because she's had a great season.
"Women's foil showed improvement - they all finished higher than their seeds, but did not make it out of the play-in round.
"In men's foil, Joe Alter returned to form from his sophomore year, had a phenomenal tournament and did amazingly well in the final. The final had two Olympians, both from Penn State. There's a very, very strong foil field in our region and to finish as high as he did is probably his best finish ever, so we're hoping that will carry over into the NCAA's.
"Men's epee was a little inconsistent, as they were all season. They would beat the top people and then have difficulty with others. I know they were probably a little more frustrated than the other squads, because they know they're better.
"But all in all a very good result for UNC at the Regional. "
Performance at the Regional is one of the factors used to determine invitations to the NCAA Championships, which will be held March 21-24 in San Antonio, Texas. The NCAA field will be announced later this week.
UNC results, Mid-Atlantic/South Regional
March 9, 2013
Joseph Alter, 5th
Alexander Burte, 28th
(Harry Adams qualified but did not compete due to illness)
Hayden Haberle, 14th
Daniel Giles, 27th
Collins Allison, 29th
Maxwell Tice-Lewis, 33rd
Sam Austin, 10th
Gordon Long, 11th
Jonathan Blake, 14th
Nate Wiecha, 16th
Wynton Wong, 26th
Heather Van Wallendael, 31st
Jenna Rodrigues, 35th
Lidea Shahidi, 13th
Kelley Hamill, 18th
Alexandria Mead, 20th
Kacie Albert, 30th
Gillian Litynski, 4th
Sara Leung, 20th
Aislinn Klos, 27th
Vicki Burton, 30th
Maura Thornton, 31st