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Georgina Summers propels North Carolina fencing to its first women's ACC Championship

Georgina Summers ACC Fencing

Sophomore Georgina Summers of the UNC fencing team won a silver medal in the individual epee competition on Feb. 24 in Carmichael Arena.

Carmichael Arena went silent for the first time that day as the tie-breaking competition began, and it stayed silent until the screams of the overjoyed North Carolina fencers rang out after the tournament.

Sophomore Georgina Summers was able to clinch one of two wins needed against Notre Dame for the ACC women's team championship, en route to being named the MVP of the event.

Sophomore Georgina Summers of the UNC fencing team won a silver medal in the individual epee competition on Feb. 24 in Carmichael Arena.

After winning the silver medal in the individual epee event during the first day of competition and continuing to perform on the second day, it was clear to her coaches that Summers was the obvious choice for the tie-breaking bouts to determine the ACC champion.

As she prepared to take on competitors from Duke and Notre Dame, the sophomore knew she had to get over her dislike of the attention from the crowd in order to win for her team. And she did just that. 

Summers was quickly embraced by all of her equally excited teammates before the heightened energy was transferred to the other two tie-breaking bouts taking place. 

The excitement expressed by the Tar Heels could be felt throughout Carmichael Arena after the second win, which secured the title for North Carolina.

“Right now I feel absolutely amazing," Summers said after helping her team earn the title. "(I'm) on top of the world.”

She was not alone in those feelings. 

“Yesterday, when I was watching the epee finals, I was watching everyone get so excited, so I called my mom,” junior Sydney Persing said.

“I just wish I could have that feeling today," the junior told her mom. "That feeling of chills in your body when you win, when you do something for your team, and everyone jumps on you.” 

Persing, a native of Livingston, N.J., got that moment when she led her team to victory against Duke at the beginning of the competition. Persing, who competed for her team in the foil event, led a significant win over the Blue Devils, which ultimately allowed her team to win the championship.

“After the win, I thought this was the happiest moment of my career,” Persing said. “But now winning the ACC is the happiest moment of my career.”

Persing made many comments on how her team accomplished the impossible and strongly believes that the whole day was about belief.

After defeating Duke earlier in the day during the team competition, the girls were ecstatic about their increased odds of placing second overall as a team, for the first time.

However, by a strange turn of events, the Blue Devils were able to take the win over Notre Dame during the third round of team competition, forcing a three-way tie for first place.

"Not improbable, but not expected," head coach Ron Miller said on his team's win. "(They) felt confident that they would come out with at least third place, possibly second, and maybe, maybe first.”

The North Carolina women's fencing team celebrates its 2018 ACC team title, the first in school history, on Feb. 24 in Carmichael Arena.

Miller emphasized that without beating Duke earlier in the day, the team would not have had a chance at its first women's team title in program history. 

The potential impact of the team's success in this competition could build momentum moving forward.

“I think it will have a huge impact on our team," Summers said. "Right now everyone is in such a high and we’re so excited. I think it will give us a huge confidence boost and we will go into regionals with high expectations which is always the attitude you need to have.”

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