CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - North Carolina's Sam Austin and Gillian Litynski are no strangers to the NCAA Fencing Championships, and the Tar Heel veterans have earned the right to go back again. Austin, a senior from Dix Hills, N.Y., qualified for the men's sabre field for the second year in a row. Litynski, a junior from Niskayuna, N.Y., made the women's sabre field for the third year in a row.
Qualifiers for the 2014 NCAA Championships, to be hosted by Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio, were announced on Tuesday. The men's competition is set for March 20-21 and the women's for March 22-23. 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.
Last season, Litynski finished third in the NCAA field to earn All-America honors. As a freshman in 2012, when the tournament also was held in Columbus, she was 18th.
Austin finished 20th in 2013, when Tar Heels placed 13th overall. The team finish is determined by the combined performances of a school's men's and women's competitors.
Carolina's finish last season was the best for a UNC team and individual since 2000, when UNC took 11th overall and Kim Treiber was second in women's sabre.