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Four UNC fencers place in the top six at the Temple Collegiate Open to begin season

Sirico Summers ACC Fencing

Notre Dame's Amanda Sirico defeated UNC's Georgina Summers, 15-12, in the 2018 ACC individual women's epee title match on Feb. 24 in Carmichael Arena.

The UNC fencing teams kicked off head coach Ron Miller’s final season with an impressive performance at the Temple Collegiate Open.  

What happened?

Against highly-ranked opponents on the men's and women's side, four UNC fencers finished in the top-six at the tournament. 

“Everyone that made the final, fought very hard to get there,” Miller said.  

On the women's side on Saturday, junior Carlexa had a great day in the foil, placing in third in a field of 64 teams. Wei Chee Chen finished in a tie for ninth in the event, Aubrey Molloy finished in 11th and Sydney Persing rounded out the top Tar Heel finishers at 16th. 

In women's epee, Rebecca Barnes was the top UNC finisher at 17th place. 

Jackie Litynski finished in a tie for third in the women's sabre, with Bridget Becchina, Clara Somfelean and Julia Parzecki coming in 14th, 15th and 19th place, respectively. 

On the men’s side on Sunday, several Tar Heels competed in the midst of staunch competition from No. 2 Columbia and No. 9 Penn State. 

In the men's epee with 88 competitors, Jacob Henkels finished in sixth, Michael Facci came in 12th and Charlie Roth rolled on to 16th place. And in the men's sabre, Benjamin Rabinowitz came in sixth, Daniel tied for ninth, Firoz George came in 12th, Connor Ritchey was in 13th and Matthew Garrelick finished in 16th place out of 72 competitors. 

“It was a great day for us,” Miller said. 

Who stood out?

UNC had a number of top-finishers that highlighted the performances. Foiler Carlexa Fevry finished higher than 61 fencers in her event. Wei Chee Chen and Charlotte Smith also had terrific performances in the foil, finishing ninth overall and 2nd in the consolation round, respectively. 

Jackie Litynski also had success in the epee. She placed in a tie for third in a field of 63 — a quality start to her season. 

The men also had some fencers crack the top ten. Jacob Henkels and Benjamin Rabinowitz led the way for the men placing sixth in the epee and saber, respectively.  

When was it decided?

Last season, the Tar Heel men were plagued by inconsistency with all three weapons. But this weekend, they had several great showing in both the epee and the saber, with top-10 finishes in two of three weapons. While no one placed in the top twenty in the foil for the men, there were several strong showings that bode well for the future. 

The women had multiple third place finishes that set the tone for a successful day.  

Why does it matter?

In the first event of the season, the Tar Heels wanted to get out to good start — and they did.  Despite being a younger team, they showed that they can compete well with some of the best programs in the country. 

“Our athletes are a little short on experience than some of the people we competed against,” Miller said.

With the season now underway, the women have started on a quest to repeat as ACC champions.  Miller expressed lots of optimism in their ability to do just that. 

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“Our physical conditioning paid off, the types of things we have been working on in practice paid off," Miller said, "and with just a little bit more work we can pretty much fence with anybody.”

When do they play next?

The UNC fencing team will look to continue its positive momentum as they travel to University Park, Pa., for the Garret Penn State Open on Nov. 3 and 4.  On both days, competition will begin at 8 a.m. 

@ryanheller23 | @DTHSports