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It is better the second time around, said Barbara Turpin, who helped lead the Salle Auriol club of Portland to the women's epee team crown Friday in the 1990 U.S. Fencing Championships at the Salt Palace.

"We're happy because we're repeat champions and because we're the oldest team here," said Turpin, 27, a postdoctoral research associate at the Oregon Graduate Institute's Department of Environmental Science and Engineering."We've been together for five years and we've won a silver, a bronze and now two gold medals in the team championships at the nationals," said Turpin.

In the national championship final, Salle Auriol defeated Halberstadt Fencers Club, San Francisco, 9-5.

The winning team included 56-year-old Marlenne Adrian, a professor of physical education at the University of Illinois and the oldest women fencer in the elite Division I, and Sue Badders, Portland, who retired following the 1984 Olympic Games and returned to competitive fencing just eight months ago.

Two-time Olympian Robert Stull came into the meet ranked No. 1 in the men's epee. But he claimed an international competition in Europe in pentathlon - which includes fencing among the five events - left him drained.

Because of the jet lag, Stull said he was "fencing below par" in the qualifying round for the men's epee. He finished ninth among the 16 finalists advancing to Saturday's championship round.

"I was lapsing a little bit mentally. But, my reputation and my experience and a lot of automatic things you do were working for me today," said Stull, who won the pentatlon silver medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics at Los Angeles.

In the men's Division II sabre, Stephen Kovacs captured his second gold medal in the week-long meet.