The North Carolina fencing team sent two representatives to the 2011 NCAA Fencing Championships, which wrapped up Sunday in Columbus, Ohio.
Sophomore Joe Alter and senior Katie Williamson were the only two Tar Heels to qualify for the championship.
“As a senior, I knew this was my last chance to compete and it is something I have been working toward for all four years,” Williamson said.
Alter won five bouts and finished 23rd in the men’s foil competition. Williamson won 11 bouts and finished 13th in the women’s foil, one spot away from qualifying to be an All-American.
To qualify, a fencer must be seeded within a certain range at the end of the regular season and place within a certain range in the regional qualifier. Forty percent is based on the regular season and 60 is based on regional qualifying.
The 16 victories between the two were good enough for UNC to place 19th overall, one spot higher than last year when the Tar Heels had three fencers in the tournament. Williamson’s 13th-place finish was the highest for a UNC women’s fencer since 2001.
She failed to qualify her three previous years on the team, in part due to issues with migraines.
“It is just a tremendous tribute to her courage and perseverance,” UNC coach Ron Miller said. “I am so glad to see her rewarded for all her energy and dedication these past four years.”
Williamson said that she was happy to end her UNC fencing career on a high note and that being on the team was one of the best experiences of her life.