For the North Carolina fencing team, this season has been all about growth.
Coach Ron Miller came into the year with 21 freshmen, so there was no question that this year’s fencing squads would be largely green.
But to say that this is a rebuilding year for UNC fencing would be an incorrect assumption.
Four months into the season, both the men’s and women’s teams are receiving votes in the CollegeFencing360.com Coaches’ Poll.
The season so far has been highlighted by Miller’s 1,300th victory — which the Tar Heels secured with a 23-4 win against Drew University — and the performances of senior captain Kevin Nadeau, who notched an eighth-place finish in foil at Penn State’s Garrett Open in November.
Miller was especially impressed with the performance of his less-experienced fencers.
“There was actually a scheduling change in some of our meets in New York and Philadelphia at the last minute,” he said. “We had to split up our A and B teams, so the B team got to fence as the varsity team in Philadelphia.
However, the B team fenced so well that they actually qualified for the first round of the NCAA Championships.”
Senior captain Shannon Beamon noted that much of her team’s success has come from the program’s tradition of mixing newer fencers with more experienced ones.