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In a battle of teammates, Ann Marsh of the Rochester (N.Y.) Fencing Center defeated Felicia Zimmerman 15-9 in the finals to claim the U.S. Women's Division I Foil title at the United States Fencing Association National Championships.

Tuesday was Day Four of the eight-day event taking place at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake.It was no surprise that the two met in the championship bout. Zimmerman is the defending national champ while Marsh recently finished third at the World Cup finals in Marseilles, France.

Beyond being teammates, Marsh and Zimmerman have also been friends for years. "Its always hard to go against her," says Marsh of Zimmerman. "During the bout you really want to win, but after its over you want both of you to win."

As in baseball, left-handers also seem to have a natural advantage in fencing. Marsh was one of only two righties among the eight finalists. "Left-handers tend to stay in fencing longer because when they start out they have the advantage of being harder to hit," says Marsh.

Julie Smith of Provo finished 29th in the Women's Division I Foil and Utahns Kayleen Hindrichs and Winona Matthews also placed.

In the Under 19 Men's Foil five members of the West High fencing team placed. The two highest finishers were Nathan Craner in 27th and Peter Green in 29th. Joe Rogan, Brian Pharris and Logan Axon also placed.

The best local performance of the day belonged to the BYU Men's Fencing Team of Zhon Johansen, Alex Brumley and Dayton Judd who finished 16th in the Epee Team division. The Cougars placed higher than any of the other five college teams that competed. (The top teams tend to be club teams from the New York area).

Johansen credits the teams finish to the generous funding that BYU gives to club sports. "I think BYU is one of the best for funding lower income sports," he said. Where does the money come from? "We get some of our money from the football program," said Johansen with a grin.

Wednesday's late schedule

(at Salt Palace, admission is free)

Women's foil Division II championship, 5 p.m.

Women's epee Division I championship, 7 p.m.

Thursday's schedule

Division II women's epee, 8 a.m.

Women's team foil pools, 9 a.m.

Men's sabre, Division I pools, 11:30 a.m.

Women's team foil finals, 5 p.m.

Men's sabre, Division I finals, 7 p.m.