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Despite the busy homecoming weekend in Chapel Hill, the North Carolina fencing team traveled to Columbus, Ohio to compete in the OSU Invitational Sunday.

OSU’s French Field House hosted the competition between Princeton, Penn State, Notre Dame, University of Pennsylvania, Ohio State and UNC. Coach Ron Miller said he already knew the competition would be tough, but circumstances regarding injuries, illnesses and academic complications lead to a strange weekend.

“In this particular weekend we had five or six of our starters either not travelling or having to compete in different weapons,” Miller said. “So it was very difficult initially to make sure that we had both adequate numbers and people that would have a chance to make an impact.”

Coach Miller said the women kept their poise and energy up, and even though there were no complete individual performances from anyone in particular, the team did return to Chapel Hill with two squad victories.

“The women finished with an unusual amount of courage — our underclassmen, especially our freshman, pretty much carried the day for us,” Miller said. “We were competing against five of the top seven teams in the country, including the returning national champion and second place of last year.

"We knew it was going to be difficult.”

Sarah Hanvy, who normally competes in the women’s sabre, said she was not only challenged because of the tough competitors, but also because she was asked to compete in a different weapon. To avoid sacrificing three victories for the UNC epee squad, Hanvy was asked based off of her previous competitive epee experience.

“I was a little worried because I am a much better sabre fencer than I am an epee fencer, but this meet was going to be tough even if I had fenced sabre,” Hanvy said. “Overall, I am pretty pleased with my results because I won third in my bout, which normally I wouldn’t be pleased with, but for not fencing my dominant weapon I feel pretty good.”

The women’s epee squad defeated Penn State, which Hanvy said was a great accomplishment for her and her teammates against a top 10 team.

Though proud of the women’s performances, Miller said the men began the early morning competition lacking energy and comfort in comparison to how they normally preform. Mason Erb, captain of the men’s sabre squad, said the team lacked mental strength.

“I think the biggest thing for the whole men’s sabre squad is being mentally prepared,” Erb said. “Everyone had their own mental block throughout the day.”

Erb, who suffered from a concussion Sunday and will not compete in the upcoming match this weekend, said it will take practice, but each of his teammates has enough experience to move past mental problems and perform to the best of their abilities.

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