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UNC fencing's Beni Rabinowitz finishes third in sabre at NCAA Regionals

UNC Duke Fencing
Beni Rabinowitz in a bout against Johns Hopkins University on Saturday February 9, 2018 at Duke University. UNC won against Johns Hopkins 15-12 in the first round of the day.

First-year Beni Rabinowitz led the way for the North Carolina fencing team, finishing third in the men’s sabre competition as the Tar Heels turned in a solid performance at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Regionals on Saturday.

What happened?

The team traveled to Easton, Pa. to take part in the contest, the last of the season before the NCAA Championships.

Rabinowitz won seven of his eleven bouts in the final round of competition to clinch his place on the podium, placing third behind Karol Metryka of Penn State and Daniel Kwak of Princeton.

UNC’s Matthew Garrelick also performed well in men’s sabre, placing tenth out of 36 fencers after winning three of his bouts in the final round of pools. Daniel Mogilevsky and Connor Ritchey placed 21st and 24th, respectively.

In the women’s sabre, Jackie Litynski placed fifth, winning six of her bouts in the final round of pools, while Julia Parzecki came in at 15th. Clara Somfelean placed 27th, and Bridget Becchina finished 29th out of 36 fencers.

Justine de Grasse placed eighth in the women’s epee competition, while sisters Georgina and Charlotte Summers came in at 14th and 18th. Erin O’Neill finished 33rd.

The men’s epee saw four Tar Heels compete, but none of them managed to place higher than 20th . Jacob Henkels led the way in 20th with Joe Taylor close behind in 21st. Michael Facci and Charles Roth came in at 23rd and 33rd, respectively.

Wei Chee Chen placed ninth in the women’s foil, winning five of her bouts in the final round, while Aubrey Molloy tied for 23rd and Sydney Persing placed 28th.

Much like the men’s epee, the men’s foil saw four fencers from UNC fail to crack the top half of competitors. James Mulligan, Connor Costa, and Brian Lee were 20th, 21st, and 22nd, respectively, with Ian Head coming in at 25th .

Who stood out?

Rabinowitz was the team’s best performer, and the only Tar Heel to finish in a podium place in any competition.

Litynski was next best with her fifth place finish, while De Grasse’s eighth place was good enough to be third best for the team.

When was it decided?

After winning his first three bouts, Rabinowitz went on to lose the next three in a row to dampen his hopes. But a strong rally that included wins in four of his last five bouts sent him back up the leaderboard and into third place.

Litynski’s day went the opposite way, with a strong start featuring six wins in her first eight bouts preceding a finish that brought her down to fifth place.

Why does it matter?

With only the NCAA Championships left on the schedule, this weekend was crucial for fencers looking to make it into the field. Bids are given out based on performances at regionals as well as throughout the season, so the team’s high finishers will be hoping they did enough to punch their ticket.

De Grasse was the only Tar Heel to qualify for NCAA Championships last season, while Garrelick qualified as a first-year in 2016.

When do they play next?

The final event of the year comes at the NCAA Championships in Cleveland beginning on March 21. The field will be announced this coming week.

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