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The Daily Tar Heel

Ignoring Advice Paid Off for Treiber

Four years ago, when she and identical twin sister Kyle walked into North Carolina's fencing room, Kyle said that the team would not accept two people who hadn't even picked up a sword.

But Kim was still very curious, and rejected Kyle's notion.

It was a rare move for Kim, who usually took Kyle's words to heart.

"My sister told me that I couldn't go (to fencing tryouts) because it's a varsity team," Treiber said. "But I was going to find out."

North Carolina fencing coach Ron Miller stepped in and made a believer out of Kim and Kyle, and used their athletic abilities to rebuild UNC's women's sabre division.

Now, Kim is one of North Carolina's most accomplished women fencers.

When Kim first picked up her sword, Miller was pushing for sabre to gain acceptance as an official weapon for women. Women only participated with the weapon as a demonstration sport during Treiber's freshman and sophomore seasons.

"Basically I promised Kim that I would either die first or get women's sabre as an official division before both of them graduated," Miller said. "It turned out that we actually got it a year sooner than we anticipated."

And Kim Treiber took advantage quickly, posting a long list of achievements in the two-year span. As a result, she was named first-team All-America her junior year and earned second-team All-America honors this year.

In two years, Treiber finished no worse than eighth out of 24 fencers at the NCAA tournament. In dual meets, she posted an 117-9 overall record.

In this year's NCAA tournament, she earned 14 of the team's 35 total points, leading the Tar Heels into 17th place.

She credits Miller's devotion to her and to the UNC program as a whole for her success as a sabre fencer.

"Coach Miller knows everything and can do everything," Treiber said. "The minute you meet Coach, he is so positive, and he believes that if you want to do it and you're willing to work for it, then he can make you into a really good fencer.

"If there had been any other coach in the nation (at UNC), I don't think that Kyle and I would have had the opportunity to do what we've done."

Treiber follows in a long line of successful Tar Heel women's fencers under Miller, including Kelly Williams, who went on to become an 11-time national champion in sabre and retired in 1999 ranked No. 2 in the world.

Miller notes some similarities between Treiber and Williams.

"They're very similar but athletically different," Miller said. "They're both short physically, but Kelly used to throw the shot put, so she was very bulky.

"Kim is not bulky at all but she's extremely strong. And, pound for pound, one of the strongest women I've ever seen."

Treiber spent half of this season away from fencing and Chapel Hill.

She and Kyle studied abroad in Australia but were eager to pick up their swords at the start of the spring semester.

Only Kim qualified to compete in the NCAA tournament after Kyle went through some bad luck in regional competition.

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Unlike Kim, Kyle did not gain an automatic bid, although she beat one competitor three times who earned an at-large berth into the tourney.

Nearing the end of their undergraduate careers, the twins might end up apart on a permanent basis.

Kim will likely enter graduate school while Kyle is looking at a job in literary editing.

Kim is not sure how she'll handle possibly living apart from sister, who is her best friend.

"We're best friends and worst enemies," Treiber said.

"We've lived together forever, and hopefully we'll live really close after this year because she's a lot of my inspiration."

If anything, Kim will know how to make her own decisions. She learned that four years ago when she walked through the door to become a sabre fencer.

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