Editor's note: Rather than using the written word to chronicle Northwestern's trip to Cleveland, Ohio for the USA Fencing November North American Cup, Jen produced a video blog about the weekend. Below is her submission:
It's my favorite time of year again. And in case you were wondering, I'm not referring to dressing up on Halloween, or my endless consumption of pumpkin spice lattes, but the adrenaline I feel on the strip during competition season. I think I can speak for every one of my teammates when I say that competing is what we live for. Finally, it's that time of year where we move from competition to competition, fighting for every touch and every victory, one bout at a time.
This past weekend, we hosted the USFA Remenyik Open in honor of Northwestern's first head coach, Charlotte Remenyik. It was an exciting event with fencers coming from all around the country to battle it out for the gold medal. Overall, the 'Cats claimed two gold medals and 10 top-10 finishes. Congratulations to junior Courtney Dumas and freshman Alisha Gomez-Shah on securing those gold medals, or should I say battle-axes? (See below).
Instead of trophies or medals, battle-axes were given to the top finishers of the competition. (I wasn't kidding).
Preseason is officially over as individual competitions come to an end and our collegiate duals begin. My teammates and I are more than ready to switch from individual competition to team competition. Fencing is an individual sport, but collegiate fencing allows us to fence for more than just ourselves. It gives us the opportunity to flaunt our purple gear, represent Northwestern athletics with pride, and most importantly, win together.
On Saturday, November 2nd, we're on to the next one as we compete against 11 Midwest Fencing Conference opponents at Patten Gymnasium. The team and I have been working extremely hard with lifts, conditioning, yoga, footwork, drills, and bouting. Our energy is through the roof this year, and I can't wait to see the freshmen experience their first collegiate-dual meet as Northwestern Wildcats.
In social media news, make sure to check out Junior foil fencer Tina Umanskiy's twitter (@UtheMANskiy) for some deep thoughts, misused sarcasm, and overall comical entertainment.
Happy Halloween and go 'Cats!
As we tackle midterms one
exam at a time, we say goodbye to pre-season and enter the early season
quadrant. Our next few weekends are stacked with both home and away
competitions. The team and I are beyond excited to represent Northwestern and
show the other schools what we are made of.
A new addition to our
practices this year has been the iPad. In the past we have used video cameras to
record our meets and analyze the actions of our opponents. Now, we have the opportunity
to video record our footwork, drills, and bouting at practices. The iPad is a
great benefit because now we can easily identify what we need to work on at
both the individual and team level. Having a visual aid during our practices is
an extreme advantage, and we hope to continue to use it throughout the season.
So thank you, iPad.
Another form of technology
that we've experimented with was the GoPro Camera. Junior foil captain Mary
Spohn, after struggling with duct tape for several minutes, finally stabilized
the camera inside her mask at a recent practice. The GoPro Camera allows us to
view our fencing from a completely different angle. Rather than watch my
fencing from the perspective of a bystander, I can now analyze my own actions
from the perspective of my opponent. Unfortunately, placing the camera inside
the mask didn't allow the clearest view of the action. But no need to worry, Mary
plans on placing the camera on top of her mask during future practices. Hopefully
I can post some awesome video footage here soon!
Overall, our practices have
been going extremely well and the energy we garnered at the beginning of the
year is still going strong. This upcoming weekend we compete in the USFA (United
States Fencing Association) Remenyik Open at the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion
both on Saturday, October 26 and Sunday, October 27. The following weekend we
host Club Duals in Patten. We'd love to see everyone out to support your fellow
I want to give a special shout-out
to the foil squad for such hard work and dedication this week. "We came in
like a wrecking ball and can't stop!"
Good luck on midterms
everyone and until next time,
It's been a hectic first few
weeks of school but it feels great to be on campus -- especially with our
fourteen new freshmen! They are an amazing, motivated group of people who come
from all over the United States and even Europe; and I could not be more
excited to have each and every one of them on the team. I first met the
freshmen during our team's "Beach Week", where we worked out together
and got back in shape out on North Beach on campus. It was a great team-bonding
experience and most definitely my favorite part of welcome week.
After doing squat jumps,
suicides, and sprints in the sand, we finally hit the strip for our first
non-collegiate meet of the season. We held the United States Fencing Association Burton Open at the Henry
Crown Sports Pavilion, and as usual, swept the medals. We earned gold medals in
all three weapons and had 19 top-10 finishes. For those of you that don't know,
there are three different weapons in fencing. Foil (the weapon I fence, and therefore
the best one), epée, and sabre. There are different target areas for each one,
meaning where a fencer can hit and score a touch varies for the differing
weapons. There are a lot more differences among the weapons, but I think you
would much rather witness the sport in person than read my lengthy explanation.
So, next time we have a home meet, come out and support the 'Cats!
All in all, the Burton Open
was a solid warm-up for the upcoming season and a great opportunity for the
freshmen to show us what they've got. As expected, they performed extremely well
and I'm so glad they are now a part of the Wildcat family. It's going to be an
exciting season, especially with all the positive energy they contribute to the
Our next competition will
take place later this month on October 26th and 27th at the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion. We'll be participating
in the Remenyik Open as another warm-up before our first collegiate meet in
Until next time,
With the Northwestern
Softball alumni game just a day away, Kristin (Scharkey) Jensen looks back on
her four years in Kate Drohan's program in the final installment of Schark
I remember the first time I met Kate and Caryl Drohan.
Hi everyone! For those of you that don't know me yet, my name is Jen Yamin and I'm from Allendale, New Jersey. I'm a sophomore on the women's fencing team and I've been fencing since I was 11 years old. I decided to come to Northwestern because of its strong academics, supportive athletic community, the proximity to Chicago, and of course, the people here. With all of that in mind, I proudly present the first entry to the new fencing blog, Behind the Mask:
Writing to you from my bed after a casual 17-hour power nap, I have returned from Jeju Island, South Korea where my teammates and I participated in the Korea-USA Elite Fencing Invitational (KUEFI).
Five fencers from universities across the United States were chosen to compete in the individual competition. From Northwestern, Cara Franke, Mikela Goldstein, Courtney Dumas, and myself traveled abroad to participate in such an exciting event. Unfortunately, our teammate Dina Bazarbayeva suffered an injury before the competition and was unable to travel. There were also fencers from Princeton, Brown, Stanford, Notre Dame, Columbia, and many more schools.
Overall, the 'Cats performed pretty well considering the summer is our offseason. Fencing the Koreans was a tough, yet rewarding experience. Although their clean, precise styles were difficult to fence against, we still got the opportunity to test out different strategies at the highest level. Our best finish came from Courtney, who finished third in the women's epée event. Way to go, Court!
Jeju is a beautiful, tropical island that has been named one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature. After the competition was over, the competitors took advantage of the free-time to explore downtown Jeju. The streets were filled with so many shops, cafés, and restaurants that it was impossible to make it one block without stopping. The language barrier was sometimes an issue, and at one restaurant it led to a game of charades. One thing I did learn was that ordering chicken wings with hand gestures is a lot harder than you think.
In addition to exploring downtown, we had the opportunity to hike on "Cultural Experience Day," arranged by the Korean organizers of the invitational. The sights were beautiful and the water was a perfect blue. After hiking in the sweltering heat, we took a taxi to Hyeopjae Beach and stampeded like wildebeests ran straight into the water.
The organizers of the competition also held an "Education Through Athletics" Seminar, where the US coaches discussed balancing sports and academics. I was shocked to hear that in Korea, it is considered impossible for athletes to be academically strong students. In Korea, you are considered either a student or an athlete, but never a "student-athlete." One goal of the KUEFI event was to promote the "student-athlete model" and show the advantages of balancing the two. I think that after this seminar, the Korean students and teachers have a clearer understanding of the American collegiate athletic life. I wish the Korea International School students the best of luck as they continue on with their studies and sports!
My trip to Korea was a culturally enriching and exciting trip. However, it feels great to be back in my own bed. I can't wait to be back on campus, and as always, Go 'Cats!
- Jen Yamin
redshirt junior JerShon Cobb, redshirt freshman Sanjay Lumpkin and assistant
coach are currently touring with a Global Sports Academy squad in Belgium. On
Wednesday, the team posted a 73-67 victory over Wevelgem. The score was tied
60-60 before the GSA team finished the game on a 13-7 run. The unit of Cobb, Ronnie
Johnson (Purdue), Juan Howard Jr. (Detroit), Juan Anderson (Marquette) and Ryan
Sawvell (Evansville) all made finishing plays to seal the win. Cobb (12
points) and Lumpkin (6 points) continued their solid play on both ends of the
this blog entry following the contest.
We went to Brugge, Belgium, on Wednesday to experience some more of the
culture of Belgium. The trip to Brugge was fun. It reminds me of
Evanston with the clothing shops and places to eat. There were a lot of
restaurants where you could eat outside. Brugge is well known for its
chocolate. We were in Brugge for about three hours before we headed off to
our next game.
The best part of the trip to me is hanging out with the team and coaches.
Everybody likes each other and I feel it is the reason why we have been
successful with our games. It is great to get to know the different
personalities of the players on and off the floor. The coaches have been
great with us and have allowed us to play. They have done a great job of
putting us in positions to be successful.
We arrived at our next game an hour and a half before we were supposed to
play. Coach Baldwin and the staff held another clinic for some youth
players. Our last game was a very competitive one which we won, 73-67. The
team we played had some good players and some big guys that could score around
the paint. I think we played ok as a team. We just had a hard time
European basketball is more physical than people realize. They all set
very solid screens and they box out every time the ball is shot. The
toughest thing is getting used to the extra step Europeans use to get past
you. It is also tough getting use to the amount of traveling calls the
referees make. It is just a different style that takes some time to adjust
We have to close out this trip with a win to go undefeated. We are
headed to Cologne, Germany, to do more sightseeing. Afterwards, we will
play our final game.
The GSA then
completed its undefeated trip (5-0) by posting a 107-76 win over Solingen
(Germany) on Thursday. The visitors wasted little time by attacking quickly in
transition and sprinting pass the Solingen team. Lumpkin paced the Wildcats duo
with 18 points while Cobb finished with 16 points in much more limited action. Lumpkin
had his greatest offensive output of the trip, including draining multiple 3-pointers.
The contingent is slated to return to the United States Friday afternoon.
redshirt junior JerShon Cobb, redshirt freshman Sanjay Lumpkin and assistant
coach Pat Baldwin are currently touring with a Global Sports Academy team in
Belgium. The team had a day off from competition on Monday as they toured
London (detailed below by Lumpkin).
returned to action on Tuesday and earned a 90-70 win over St. Niklaas of
Belgium. All 10
players scored and five players posted double-digit scoring efforts. Cobb tallied
10 points and Lumpkin contributed 8 points in a strong effort by the
Northwestern duo. In three games, Cobb and Lumpkin are averaging 10.1 and
6.0 points per game, respectively.
Our off day was spent in the great city of London. We woke up very
early Monday morning to walk to the train station in Mechelen. We boarded
the train to Brussels first. Next, we had to make a transfer to the
Eurostar train that we took to London. The train we took to London seemed to
run about 200 mph. However, the train was so smooth that if you weren't
looking out the window, you'd think you were sitting still.
London was absolutely amazing. We began the morning by experiencing the
"changing of the guards" and the Buckingham Palace where the Queen of
England lives. Afterwards, we took London's train, The Tube, to Oxford
Circus where we split up and did a lot of shopping. Niketown and House of Hoops
were pretty popular spots with all the guys. After some shopping, a couple
of the guys and I got on The Tube to see the London Bridge and Big Ben which
were spectacular. Overall, I had a great experience in London and it's
definitely a place that I would really enjoy visiting again.
London has a lot of similarities to Chicago. Both are extremely busy
with tourists and people in general. They both have a public
transportation system that is used to pretty much everyone's advantage and life
in London seemed almost the same. The people in London are approachable and
relatable and there are many familiar stores and places as well.
I'd say the two biggest differences are driving and money. It is
shocking to see cars on the other side of the road and the steering wheels in
cars on the right side. It took a while to get used to looking
"right" first when crossing the street instead of
"left". The other main difference is the worth of the dollar.
The dollar is worth extremely less than the pound used in the United
Kingdom. Everything is more expensive.
I absolutely would recommend others to visit London. It was such a
great experience. I got a chance to see things I have only seen in pictures and
in the movies. It was great to be around different people and experience
the city for my own.
This entire trip has been great. Hanging with players from other teams
and conferences is really fun. We have had a lot of time to talk to each other
in our downtime with long bus rides and train rides. I've gotten to know
pretty much all of them. It's fun to just tell each other stories about
how their college is and reflecting on our own experiences with them.
After a week of practice, the Northwestern women's soccer team has the first athletic event of the 2013-14 season, hosting an exhibition contest Wednesday at Lakeside Field vs. crosstown rival DePaul. Game time is set for 6:30 p.m. and admission is FREE so swing by scenic Lakeside to get your first glimpse of the 2013 NU women's soccer team!
If you can't make it to Wednesday's match, follow along via Twitter updates from @NU_SportsLIVE or Gametracker will have live stats.
Now a junior on the women's soccer team, Katie Landgrebe will give fans an inside look into the program with her blogs. In her first blog of the 2013 campaign, Katie gives a glimpse into what preseason training is like for the 'Cats and fills fans in on the proper "lingo".
By Katie Landgrebe
The 'Cats are back on campus and getting ready for the 2013 season! Wherever it was we all spent our summers, there's always a lot of excitement (and a few nerves) involved with heading back to Evanston and beginning our preparation for our fall season. After the first few days of preseason, the initial nerves have worn off and there's a ton of expectation and excitement building about playing our home-opener in less than two weeks! (Mark your calendars...Aug. 23 vs. Western Illinois at Lakeside)
That said, preseason is a special time as our team spends an inordinate amount of time together and works extremely hard in practices and meetings to get ready for the season. I thought I would give you a crash course in preseason lingo as it is really a very unique vernacular. So hang with me here, friends...
Common Preseason terms:
Ice bath: The collective enduring of a 10 minute, 50 degree plunge into a cold tub with nine of your teammates. Most often performed after practice or games, up to twice a day during preseason. Despite how miserable it sounds, these help muscle soreness and are the origin of lots of funny stories and memories.
Team meal: A mad dash, frenzied stampede to get to the locker room to enjoy (or more often, devour) whatever food the extremely generous and patient coaching staff has provided to help us replenish our bodies before and after training sessions. It's best to prepare yourself not to get offended when people lose their cool over the last bite of the favorite pasta or salad, as everyone is just as hungry as you.
Post-training foam roll: The use of a foot long, hard foam roller to massage and roll out muscles after a training session. Usually led by our also extremely generous and patient trainer, D, this exercise is normally accompanied by collective groans of pain and exclamations of, "ahh, that feels good."
Laundry loop: The ingenious device that allows all of our practice gear and sweaty clothing to be laundered by our, again, extremely generous and patient equipment manager, Liz. With laundry being done more than twice a day, laundry loops help us all to look spiffy and smell acceptable when we head out to training (afterwards is a different story.)
GGB (green Gatorade bottle): This abbreviation for our Gatorade water bottles, issued to everyone on the team, is thrown around a lot during preseason because in all honesty, this trusty water bottle should always be by your side. Whether walking to practice, napping between training sessions, or driving in your car, your hydration success depends on the proximity of your GGB (or other water bottle of your choosing.)
Phrases commonly heard during preseason:
"Ahhhh!" "Too cold!" "Start the timer!" "Just get through the first two minutes and you'll be ok!" "Is it extra cold today?? It's definitely colder today."--The collective sounds of ice bath-ing.
"I'm about to nap so hard."--Heard after morning sessions where there is a time gap large enough to take a nap before the next meeting or training.
"Are you hungry? I'm hungry." "How long has it been since I last ate, an hour? Yeah definitely time for more food."--No explanation needed.
We'd love for you to follow along as we continue with preseason and preparations for our first exhibition (Wednesday, against DePaul) and first regular season game (August 23, against Western Illinois). All this to say, we have a great time during preseason and always come out on the other side with more stories to share and a stronger bond as a team. Thanks for joining with us! Go 'Cats!
Northwestern redshirt junior JerShon Cobb, redshirt freshman Sanjay Lumpkin
and assistant coach Pat Baldwin are currently touring with a Global Sports
Academy team in Belgium. The squad improved to 2-0 on its trip with a 75-56
victory over Bent Schrenen Waregem in Waregem on Sunday afternoon.
Cobb bounced back from a foul-plagued first game to net 17 points in 23
minutes of action to lead all scorers. Two of Cobb's points came via a
breakaway tomahawk dunk to put a cap on GSA's 10-3 run late in the second
quarter. Lumpkin played another solid all-around game, contributing 5 points to
go along with 5 rebounds and 3 steals.
The GSA cagers have a break from games on Monday and will trek to London to
visit Buckingham Palace, see the Changing of the Guard and partake in
other sightseeing ventures. They will hit the floor again on Tuesday
Cobb provides the following blog update.
After breakfast this morning, we took off on a trip to Gent,
Belgium. In Gent, we walked through town and they were having a big
flea market. They were selling everything from clothes, shoes, jewelry and
video games. We sat down and had a waffle and water at Koffie 3,14
Thee. Personally, I felt I was overcharged for it. But, that is the
price you pay for being in another country. The highlight of the trip was
seeing the Castle of the Counts. They started building the castle in 1168
and finished in 1191. The restoration started in 1886 and finished in
This afternoon, we played a team named Waregem. Waregem is about hour
from our hotel in Mechelen. We played really well today. I thought we
were very unselfish offensively and played great defense. We held our
opponent to 26 points in the 1st half. We ended up winning, 75-56.
I thought I played much better today than I did in the first game. I
was able to stay on the floor and avoid foul trouble. I had to adjust the
way I played and not be so physical. I was in a much better rhythm and it
helped to see my first shot go down. Since Coach Collins has come in, I
feel like I'm in better condition. It has really allowed me to play longer
and make more of an impact on the game.
I was really impressed with Sanjay today. He was very active and played
with a great amount energy. He hit the boards hard and played great
defense. I know Sanjay is really excited about being on the floor after
redshirting last year.
I'm looking forward to our next game and building off of this win. Right
now, we are heading back to the hotel to relax for a while. Wi spr ekenu
later nog. In the Flemish language that means "We'll talk to you