The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday June 29th

Fencer Gill Litynski claims inaugural ACC title

Gabrielle D'Astoli competes in the first ACC Women's Fencing Championship Sunday.
Buy Photos Gabrielle D'Astoli competes in the first ACC Women's Fencing Championship Sunday.

In the inaugural ACC Women’s Fencing Championships, the top-seeded Litynski put on a show for the North Carolina faithful, claiming the first-ever women’s sabre title in Carmichael Arena.

“It’s just overwhelming,” said the senior sabreist, who was flooded with warm embraces and camera flashes following the win. “You can’t see straight. Everyone’s everywhere.”

The support for the UNC co-captain was evident — her friends, professors and parents were in attendance — as the crowd openly applauded for all 30 touches of her final two bouts.

“It was loud, which is good, and it was loud on my side, which is great,” said Litynski, with a humble smile drawn across her face. “Having crowd support really helps.”

The champion channeled the arena’s energy into an impressive closing performance, putting away her final opponent 15-6 in a dominating fashion.

And even after falling behind 8-6 in the semifinal — a bout in which she rallied to a 15-11 victory — no supporter doubted the ultimate result.

“I’m not surprised that she won,” said sophomore foil captain Amanda Lalezarian. “She’s a great fencer and she works really hard, so she definitely deserves to win.”

It seems the only Tar Heel who questioned the championship victory was Litynski herself.

“I can’t go into a fencing competition and say definitively, ‘Oh, I got this, I’m gonna win,’” she said. “You just need to take everything one touch at a time.”

Litynski certainly did that. After finishing with a 5-1 record in the dual meets, she snagged the top spot in the finals with a 13-2 mark in the individual bouts.

“I didn’t have any doubts,” said Coach Ron Miller with a hearty chuckle. “She might have had a few more than I did. But she tends to have a quiet kind of confidence that doesn’t always show. She’s not overt in anything that she does.

“She’s a quiet killer, what can I say?”

The day belonged to the modest victor, who will forever be penned as the first women’s sabre champion in ACC history.

“It’s gotta be amazing,” Miller said. “Even when fencing was in the ACC before, it was only a men’s sport. We had a women’s championship, but it was not official. So the women never got awards or anything else.

“To have that first medal I’m sure will mean a lot the rest of her life.”


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