North Carolina's fencers entered the NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Regionals in Bethlehem, Pa., hoping to claim individual spots for the NCAA Championships.
Four Tar Heels have a greater chance of seeing those hopes come true after Saturday's competition, finishing in the top 12 of their respective events to qualify for the final round.
Junior Amanda Lalezarian posted the best outing for UNC. Coming into the competition as the No. 14 seed in the women's foil, she finished at 13-8 on the day to finish fifth overall in the field.
“I think the reason I did so well I because I was just so focused on every touch throughout the day," she said. "I wasn’t thinking about past bouts or future bouts. I was just really present and in the moment.”
Sophomore Meredith Bozentka was not far behind her teammate, finishing sixth overall in the women's sabre — which will likely qualify her for the NCAA Championships.
“I’m really excited to go to the NCAA’s. I’ve been putting in a lot of extra work this year," Bozentka said. "I've been going to extra lifting, and I’ve been staying after practice to do extra footwork. So I’m really happy that all my extra work is finally showing.”
The other two top finishes for North Carolina came from sophomore Matthew Shlimak in the men's epee and first-year Matthew Garrelick in the men's sabre. They finished 10th and 11th, respectively, in their events.
“They’ve all shown that they have the ability to make an impact once they get there. Being the first time, that’s different pressure. But I don’t think there will be any issues. If they get there, they’ll do their best and that’s all we can ask for. … They’re going to have to compete against the best, but they’re used to doing that. That’s how our schedule has been all year.” — Coach Ron Miller on his fencers and the NCAA Championships.
All of the fencers who can qualify for the NCAA Championships would be doing for the first time.
The NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Regionals were going to be hosted at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., before a norovirus outbreak closed the campus for the weekend, moving the event to Moravian College.
The Tar Heels who qualify for the event will be participating in the NCAA Championships beginning on March 24 in Waltham, Mass.
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