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    Marisa Bast Attends USOC F.L.A.M.E. Conference

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    By Marisa Bast

    This summer, I attended the F.L.A.M.E. (Finding Leaders Among Minorities Everywhere) program in Colorado Springs, Colo., an educational experience catered to minority students that is put on annually by the United States Olympic Committee. I spent four inspirational days at the training center, surrounded by an overwhelming amount of excellence -- excellence that presented itself in the form of Olympians and Olympic hopefuls, Paralympians, staff leaders, executives and 27 other college students.

     

    Marisa Bast with National Team fencers Ivan Lee (left) and Jason Pryor (right).


    The program, in its 20th year, consisted of an itinerary that was teeming with motivational presentations, leadership seminars and other workshops led by F.L.A.M.E. alumni, current and former Olympians, USOC staff and current Paralympians. Speakers included five-time Olympic medalist and basketball legend Teresa Edwards, speedskating Olympic medalist Derek Parra and Paralympic Judo medalist Dartanyon Crockett, whose story you may have seen featured on ESPN's "Outside the Lines." In conjunction with these presentations, we were able to partake in Olympic and Paralympic sport demonstrations including fencing, sitting volleyball and team handball, in addition to venturing outside the training center and visiting the beautiful Garden of the Gods, a national natural landmark featuring a magnificent set of red rock formations.

     

    Needless to say, being a F.L.A.M.E. participant was an amazing, eye-opening and motivational experience. I was also able to gain an inside look at the U.S. Olympic committee, foster my own personal and professional growth, improve my leadership skills and communication strategies, expand my network and learn the values of hard work, integrity and perseverance from Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls and standouts.


    In just four days, I was able to learn about sports, the Olympic games, various business tactics and strategies as well as the values of respect, friendship and sheer determination. My biggest takeaway from this program, however, was that hard work trumps all and is vital to one's success; in other words, you are capable of anything if you set your mind to it. As cliche as this sounds, it is 100 percent true. Hard work is blind to socioeconomic status, race, age and educational background. It rewards those who remain loyal to it, and abandons those who are fearful and shy. Hard work can be your best friend or your worst enemy.

     

    Hearing how Olympic and Paralympic standouts like Derek Parra and Dartanyon Crockett overcame adversity, jumped over hurdles to attain success and lived like champions within and outside the boundaries of their respective sports was incredibly inspiring. They instilled a sense of passion and thirst for greatness within me simply by sharing their journeys to the Olympics, journeys laden with hardship, grit and determination.

     

    The 2012-13 academic year was a memorable one for Northwestern, and we hope you've enjoyed reliving many of the Wildcats' landmark victories, championships and achievements during NUsports.com's countdown of the Top 20 Moments of the year. Today the countdown concludes with the No. 1 moment -- a chance to put a wrap on 2012-13 and turn the page to what is sure to be an even bigger and better year in 2013-14.

    Moment No. 1
    Date Jan. 1, 2013
    Location EverBank Field | Jacksonville, Fla.
    Original Story Bowl Champions! Northwestern Wins TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl, 34-20
    Social Media @NUFBFamily   |  Northwestern Football
    Top 20 Countdown Northwestern's Top 20 Moments of 2012-13 Countdown

    "We talk to our guys all the time about - 'Act like you've been here before.' Well, we've never been here before!"

    Gator Bowl Highlights
    Those were the words of an exasperated Pat Fitzgerald, directed to a sea of purple-clad fans still celebrating in the seats of EverBank Field, as everyone associated with Northwestern Football soaked in a moment that was years in the making. After too many postseason bowl trips had ended in thrilling but disappointing fashion, the 2012 Wildcats had put the exclamation point on a 10-win season when they defeated Mississippi State in the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl, 34-20, accounting for the No. 1 moment for Northwestern Athletics in 2012-13.

    On a beautiful New Year's Day in Jacksonville, the Wildcats put on display all the tools and intangibles that had allowed them to enjoy such a successful season to that point: a quick first-quarter start, timely third-down conversions on offense, a relentless pass rush on defense -- which contributed to four Wildcats interceptions -- and clutch kicking by place-kicker Jeff Budzien.

    From Quentin Williams' pick-six touchdown on MSU's first offensive series through Northwestern's kneel-downs in victory formation, Wildcats fans had plenty to cheer about on an afternoon that few are likely to forget. When all was said and done, Northwestern had earned the program's second 10-win season in the modern era, a No. 16 final ranking in the USA Today/Coaches Poll and the No. 17 spot in the AP rankings.

    Not to be overlooked was the fact that the 2012 seniors earned their 40th win in five years on campus -- most ever by a Wildcats recruiting class -- while Fitzgerald officially took over as the winningest head coach in program history with his 50th head coaching victory.

    And, as usual, it was Fitzgerald who said it best during his postgame address, finishing his earlier thought about Northwestern's long-awaited thrill of postseason victory:

    "We're here now, and we're here to stay."

    Northwestern is set to join the rest of the Big Ten Conference at the 42nd Annual Big Ten Football Media Day and Kickoff Luncheon tomorrow (Wednesday) and Thursday in Chicago. Visit NUsports.com for complete coverage of Chicago's Big Ten Team.

    The 2012-13 academic year was a memorable one for Northwestern. Over the past several weeks, we have celebrated the conference championships, noteworthy wins and significant milestones that the Wildcats accumulated during the past year. Be sure to follow along at NUsports.com as we unveil the top moment of the year tomorrow!

    Moment No. 2
    Date April 20, 2013
    Location Wrigley Field | Chicago, Ill.
    Original Story Wildcats Win Big at Wrigley Field
    Video Partnership Announcement
    Video Game Highlights
    Video Postgame Interviews
    Photos Photo Gallery
    Social Media @NUCatsBaseball   |  Northwestern Baseball
    Top 20 Countdown Northwestern's Top 20 Moments of 2012-13 Countdown

    On a chilly February morning in the Windy City, Northwestern Athletics and the Chicago Cubs announced an innovative, multi-year event and reciprocal marketing partnership that will showcase a wide range of Wildcats athletic programs at historic Wrigley Field over the next several years. The Friendly Confines will play host to Northwestern in a myriad of sports including soccer, lacrosse and football. The most logical event to begin with, of course, was a baseball game to be held in the spring.

    April 20 was a cool, but calm day in Chicagoland as NU head coach Paul Stevens brought his Wildcats 10 miles south to take on the Michigan Wolverines at Wrigley Field. The ballpark was buzzing with students, alums, families and friends ready to settle in for an exciting evening of Big Ten baseball. What ensued that evening was a 6-0 triumph for Northwestern and, more importantly, an unforgettable night at the ballpark for not only the players and coaches on the field, but also for the nearly 4,200 fans in attendance.

    Behind the scenes at Wrigley Field

    Senior Luke Farrell got the nod on the mound and the 6-foot-6-inch right-hander more than rose to the occasion for the 'Cats. Michigan entered the weekend in first place in the Big Ten and Farrell turned them back with authority behind a complete-game shutout in which he struck out nine and surrendered just three hits. He retired the first 12 hitters he faced in order and did not issue a base-on-balls the entire night.

    Playing under the lights, Farrell's teammates provided plenty of offensive support in the six-run victory. Second baseman Zach Morton delivered RBI doubles in his first two-at bats and scored two runs of his own against U-M. Farrell's batterymate, Jake Straub, had a pair of hits and an RBI for the Wildcats.

    Moment No. 3: Women's Golf Captures First B1G Title

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    The 2012-13 season was a memorable one for Northwestern. Over the next few weeks, we will celebrate the conference championships, noteworthy wins and significant milestones the Wildcats accumulated during the past year. Be sure to follow along at NUsports.com as we re-visit the top 20 moments.

    Moment No. 3
    Date April 28, 2013
    Location The Donald Ross Course | French Lick, Ind.
    Original Story Wildcats Capture First Big Ten Title in Program History
    Social Media @PatGossNUgolf   |  Northwestern Women's Golf
    Top 20 Countdown Northwestern's Top 20 Moments of 2012-13 Countdown

    The 2012-13 season was a historic one for the Northwestern women's golf team as the program won its first Big Ten title. The Wildcats claimed a share of the conference crown, carding a new tournament record for 54-holes of 20-over 884 to tie for first with Purdue.

    NU's title also was the first team tournament win for head coach Emily Fletcher, who was tabbed the 2013 Big Ten Coach of the Year, and assistant coach Beth Miller during their tenures with the Wildcats and first for the program since 2007.

    "These girls, they played so hard," Fletcher said after winning the Big Ten title. "It wasn't easy. It was tough out there today. We made the turn and we were kind of hanging in there and had a few hiccups but they just fought so hard coming down to the end. As we told them last night, both Pat (Goss) and I said, 'This is what we've looked forward to, to have an opportunity like this.' To have the lead after round one and round two and going into round three, and to have never done it before, it was a little bit more than how we might have thought it would have been scripted for our first Big Ten Championship but it couldn't be any sweeter, that's for sure."

    It was a complete team effort as all six Wildcats competing at the 2013 Big Ten Championships finished in the top 25 with three in the top 10. Playing in her first conference tournament, freshman Kaitlin Park (Tustin, Calif./Beckman) led the way for NU, finishing in sixth, scoring a 6-over 222 and earned a spot on the All-Championship Team. Park had a stellar first season with the Wildcats, as she was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and received First-Team All-Big Ten accolades, along with sophomore Hana Lee, who set the new program record for single-season scoring average at 74.27.

    Senior Lauren Weaver played a big part in Northwestern's success over the last four seasons and was a key contributor in another monumental moment for the program, helping the team win the Big Ten title. Weaver leaves NU as the program's record-holder for four-year scoring average and had 11 top-10 finishes in her career, including two first-place showings.

    "Honestly this is the best I've ever felt in my college golf career, even better than when I had my individual wins," Weaver said. "This is awesome to get our first team victory and a Big Ten Championship. I'm really happy for Emily and (assistant coach) Beth (Miller) because this is the first time in their career that their team has won any tournament, let alone a Big Ten Championship, and it's just awesome for everyone and we are all really excited."

    The great memories did not end at the 2013 Big Ten Championships as the Wildcats made their 11th trip to the NCAA regional and a strong final round propelled the 'Cats to a sixth-place finish and trip to the 2013 NCAA Championships. It was just the second appearance in program history and NU finished in the top 15, placing ahead of two teams ranked in the top 10.

    The 2012-13 academic year was a memorable one for Northwestern. Over the next few weeks, we will celebrate the conference championships, noteworthy wins and significant milestones the Wildcats accumulated during the past year. Be sure to follow along at NUSports.com as we re-isit the top 20 moments.

    Moment No. 4
    Date May 5, 2013
    Location Homewood Field | Baltimore, Md.
    Original Story Wildcats Stifle Gators to Reclaim ALC Championship
    Social Media @NULax   |  Northwestern Lacrosse
    Top 20 Countdown Northwestern's Top 20 Moments of 2012-13 Countdown

    So often in sports and in life, success is defined not by avoiding adversity but by how you respond to it. The 2013 Northwestern women's lacrosse team proved the accuracy of that sentiment in its response to a difficult 22-4 loss to American Lacrosse Conference rival Florida late in the 2013 season.

    Just two weeks after suffering that uncharacteristic defeat, five-time National Coach of the Year Kelly Amonte Hiller and the defending champion Wildcats managed to completely turn the tides on the Gators, stifling a high-powered Florida attack to post an 8-3 win in the ALC Tournament championship game May 5 in Baltimore. Putting to rest the memory of its regular-season loss, Northwestern perfectly executed its game-plan and received a dominant effort on the draw control by junior Alyssa Leonard en route to its sixth ALC Tournament title in the seven-year history of the event.

    ALC Championship Recap

    Florida scored only one goal in the final 51 minutes of game action, while UF's top two point-scorers on the season -- Kitty Cullen (61 points) and Shannon Gilroy (57) -- combined for only one assist in the game thanks largely to another stellar face-guarding effort by Kerri Harrington. The two had combined for 12 points (eight goals, four assists) in Northwestern's regular-season loss to the Gators.

    "We were fired up to play today but it was a different kind of hyped up, it was more of a laser focus before the game and you could see it in everybody's eyes when you looked around," said Leonard, who also in that game broke the Northwestern single-season record for draw controls. "What happened in the regular season was humbling, but today we were all ready to play and we weren't going to let what happened last time affect this game."

    The win also gave the Wildcats momentum and the No. 2 seed entering the NCAA Championship, where they would cruise through its first two opponents on their way to a ninth consecutive appearance in the national semifinals.

    The 2012-13 season was a memorable one for Northwestern. Over the next few weeks, we will celebrate the conference championships, noteworthy wins and significant milestones the Wildcats accumulated during the past year. Be sure to follow along at NUSports.com as we re-visit the top 20 moments.

    Moment No. 5
    Date Nov. 18, 2012
    Location Valley Fields | Milwaukee, Wis.
    Original Story 'Cats Keep Dancing with 1-0 Shutout of No. 7 Seed Marquette
    Social Media @NUMensSoccer   |  Northwestern Men's Soccer
    Top 20 Countdown Northwestern's Top 20 Moments of 2012-13 Countdown

    It's difficult to pick just one memorable moment from the 2012 Northwestern men's soccer season. There was the team's second Big Ten regular-season title in as many years, a 2-1 upset of then-No. 7 Notre Dame (who went on to achieve the No. 1 overall seed in the 2012 NCAA Tournament) and an exciting 1-1 draw with eventual NCAA champion, Indiana, which ended up being the point the Wildcats needed to claim a share of the Big Ten title.

    While all will stick with the Wildcats for years to come, NU's 1-0 shutout of No. 7 seed Marquette helped the 'Cats advance to the third round of the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in the program's seven trips to the big dance and ranks No. 5 on our list of the most memorable Northwestern moments of 2012-13.

    Northwestern shut down the Golden Eagles, who entered the game averaging 2.1 goals per game, had not been shut out all season and had not lost on their home pitch. First-Team All-Big Ten honoree Tyler Miller played all 90 minutes in net to pick up his 10th shutout of the year, which ranks second in NU single-season history.

    It was Joey Calistri's goal, his team-leading ninth of the year, in the 31st minute that proved to be the difference in the match. The Wildcats had a favorable free kick spot, just to the left of the 18-yard box, after Marquette was whistled for a foul. Junior defender Scott Lakin's free kick was played back to the top of the box, finding Calistri who sent home a one-touch shot into the upper right corner past a diving MU goalkeeper Charlie Lyon.

    Both teams continued to battle in the second half with five shots for the Golden Eagles, compared to four for the Wildcats. Marquette had its only two shots on goal in the second half and Miller saved both.

    The Wildcat defense also blocked a number of Marquette looks inside the box and defended until the final seconds. NU was whistled for a foul at midfield with the clock winding down, setting up an MU free kick, but the Golden Eagles were unable to get any looks at the net as the Wildcats hung on for the 1-0 victory and a trip to Louisville for the third round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament.

    "I thought it was a great game," said Northwestern head coach Tim Lenahan, who captured his 250th career victory with the shutout. "I thought the first half we really played well, particularly the first 15 or 20 minutes, and Joey made a big play and then we defended like absolute warriors at the end of the game. When they were lumping service after service in there, we were hanging on for dear life but our guys were just absolute warriors. Marquette is a great team, they've had an awesome season, their coach has just done a remarkable job in the last seven years that he's been here. But we were able to make a play and then we were really battling at the end of the game to move onto the Sweet 16, so it's a good day for Northwestern soccer."

    The 2012 Big Ten Champion squad also had five All-Big Ten honorees, including Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Joey Calistri, and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Chris Ritter. Both, along with Miller and sophomore defender Nikko Boxall, received first-team accolades while senior Jarrett Baughman was a second-team honoree. All, with the exception of Baughman, return to the pitch at Lakeside Field for the 2013 campaign.

    The 2012-13 season was a memorable one for Northwestern. Over the next few weeks, we will celebrate the conference championships, noteworthy wins and significant milestones the Wildcats accumulated during the past year. Be sure to follow along at NUsports.com as we revisit the top 20 moments.

    Moment No. 6
    Date March 10, 2013
    Location Assembly Hall | Champaign, Ill.
    Original Story Jason Welch Captures 2013 Big Ten Title
    Video Welch Wins by Fall at 2013 Big Ten Championships
    Social Media @NU_Wrestle   |  Northwestern University Wrestling
    Top 20 Countdown Northwestern's Top 20 Moments of 2012-13 Countdown

    Jason Welch of the Northwestern wrestling team was a senior during the 2012-13 campaign and had the best year of his illustrious Wildcat career. The 157 lbs. starter won the 2013 Big Ten title at his weight class and did so in dramatic fashion, using a third-period fall over Nebraska's James Green to capture the crown.

    It was an exciting, back-and-forth match, that saw Welch trailing by one before the fall. After a scoreless first period, Welch started the second period down and escaped to take the 1-0 lead. Green then caught Welch out of position and took advantage with a takedown to go ahead 2-1 after two. Green began the third period down and went up 4-1 after a reversal, but Welch quickly countered with a reversal of his own to trail by one at 4-3. Welch then started to rack up riding time and a ride out would have earned him the 4-4 tie, but he caught Green in a cradle and the official awarded Welch backpoints before he secured the third-period fall (6:38). Welch's win avenged his lone loss of the regular season, a 9-8 decision by Green during the dual season.

    Welch's Big Ten title made him the 30th different Wildcat to capture a conference crown and first at the 157 lbs. weight class.

    Welch went on to enjoy even more success at the 2013 NCAA Championships, reaching the finals at 157 lbs. The Walnut Creek, Calif., native capped his Northwestern career with his highest placement at NCAA's and became just the sixth three-time All-American in program history. He leaves Northwestern ranking seventh in NU history with 116 career wins (a career-high 34 victories during the 2012-13 season), sixth in career winning percentage at .841 and also was just the third NU wrestler in program history to capture two titles at the prestigious Midlands Championships, wrestled at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

    As a team, Northwestern once again had a successful showing at the NCAA Championships, finishing in the top 20 with two Wildcats in the finals. NU was one of just four schools at NCAA's, including team champion Penn State, runner-up Oklahoma State and Iowa, to have to wrestlers in the finals. Redshirt sophomore Mike McMullan competed in the heavyweight finals and achieved his second All-America accolade, giving NU at least two All-Americans in seven of the last eight years.

    The 2012-13 academic year was a memorable one for Northwestern. Over the next several weeks, we will celebrate the conference championships, noteworthy wins and significant milestones that the Wildcats accumulated during the past year. Be sure to follow along at NUsports.com as we revisit the top 20 moments.

    Moment No. 7
    Date May 10, 2013
    Location Dan Magill Tennis Complex | Athens, Ga.
    Original Story Northwestern Defeats Wake Forest 4-3 in NCAA Thriller
    Top 20 Countdown Northwestern's Top 20 Moments of 2012-13 Countdown

    Northwestern's 2013 men's tennis senior class left its mark on the program. During their freshman season, the squad managed just dual match 10 wins, but in their final campaign they notched 22 victories and the last one proved to be the most dramatic.

    Following a successful regular season, the Wildcats were assigned to the Athens Regional where 36th-ranked NU would take on 19th-ranked Wake Forest. Looking for its first NCAA tournament victory since 1998, head coach Arvid Swan's squad fell behind early as it dropped the doubles point. In singles play, wins by senior Sidarth Balaji and Alex Pasareanu put the 'Cats up 2-1 before the Demon Deacons got a victory at the No. 1 spot to tie the match. At No. 2, junior Raleigh Smith gutted out a pair of tiebreaker victories to bring the Wildcats within one victory of advancing.

    However, Wake Forest got a win at No. 4 to even the match, leaving the match to be decided between NU senior Chris Jackman and Demon Deacon freshman Morgan Mays at No. 6. Mays took the first set before Jackman rallied back to win the second, leaving it up to a decisive third.

    Mays took a 3-1 lead in the final set, however, Jackman rallied back to win the next three games to go up 4-3. Mays held serve and then broke Jackman to go up 5-4. Things looked bleak for Northwestern as Mays was serving and and was two points from victory up 30-love, but Jackman refused to give up as he managed to break back to make it 5-5. Jackman was able to hold and then broke Mays once again, setting off a wild celebration and capping a match that lasted four hours and 18 minutes.

    Moment No. 8: Armstrong's Moment of Grandeur

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    The 2012-13 academic year was a memorable one for Northwestern. Over the next several weeks, we will celebrate the conference championships, noteworthy wins and significant milestones that the Wildcats accumulated during the past year. Be sure to follow along at NUsports.com as we revisit the top 20 moments.

    Moment No. 8
    Date Oct. 21, 2012
    Location Lakeside Field | Evanston, Ill.
    Original Story Armstrong is Grand on Senior Day as Wildcats Beat Bears, 6-0
    Watch Chelsea Armstrong Feature
    Social Media @NUFHCats
    Top 20 Countdown Northwestern's Top 20 Moments of 2012-13 Countdown

    Entering the 2012 season, only eight players in the history of NCAA Division I field hockey had amassed 100 career goals. Northwestern's standout Chelsea Armstrong increased that mark by one.

    In the final home game of her remarkable career as a Wildcat, Armstrong tallied four goals as NU rolled to a 6-0 victory over Missouri State on Senior Day, allowing the Perth, Australia, native to reach the century mark. Career tally No. 100 came at the 52:03 mark in the second half off an assist from Tara Puffenberger and was her 29th goal of the season, a total that led the nation during the regular season.

    Armstrong became the third player in Big Ten Conference history to achieve the milestone. The win over the Bears was Northwestern's 15th over a 16-game span and raised their season record to 16-2 at the time, highlighting the winningest campaign by the Wildcats in 23 years.

    Armstrong would be named a first-team All-American for the second-consecutive season while also being recognized as Northwestern's 2012-13 Female Athlete of the Year. She earned three All-America honors overall in her career as well as four first-team All-Big Ten and All-West Region selections as well as 14 times being recognized as the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week.

    Moment No. 9: 'Cats Claim 15th-Straight B1G Title

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    The 2012-13 academic year was a memorable one for Northwestern. Over the next several weeks, we will celebrate the conference championships, noteworthy wins and significant milestones that the Wildcats accumulated during the past year. Be sure to follow along at NUsports.com as we revisit the top 20 moments.

    Moment No. 9
    Date April 28, 2013
    Location IU Tennis Center | Bloomington, Ind.
    Original Story NU Claims 15th-Straight Big Ten Title With 4-1 Win Over Michigan
    Social Media @NUWildcatTennis   |  Northwestern Women's Tennis
    Top 20 Countdown Northwestern's Top 20 Moments of 2012-13 Countdown

    Death, taxes and Northwestern Women's Tennis winning a Big Ten title.

    For the 15th-consecutive season, the Wildcats claimed a conference crown when they took down Indiana, Nebraska and Michigan to capture the Big Ten tournament championship in Bloomington, Ind.

    Head coach Claire Pollard's squad entered the tournament as a rare underdog as a pair of tight 4-3 losses to Michigan and Nebraska during the regular season meant the Wildcats would be the No. 3 seed. Following a 4-0 opening-round win over host Indiana, Northwestern avenged its loss to the second-seeded Cornhuskers by taking them down 4-1 to advance to the championship match.

    The 'Cats wouldn't be denied by top-seeded Michigan in the matchup for the title. NU pulled off the always-crucial victory in doubles to surge in front before the Wolverines evened things up with a win at No. 1 singles. However, wins by Kate Turvy and Nida Hamilton set things up for Linda Abu Mushrefova who completed a perfect 14-0 season against Big Ten singles opponents by disposing of Brooke Bolender in three sets at the No. 4 spot, earning Northwestern its 14th Big Ten tournament title in 15 years.

    The Wildcats would go on to win a 10th-straight NCAA regional title -- defeating UIC and Baylor -- before being eliminated by Miami (Fla.) 4-3 in a thriller in the round of 16.

    Moment No. 10: Fencers Add to Sensational Streak

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    The 2012-13 academic year was a memorable one for Northwestern. Over the next several weeks, we will celebrate the conference championships, noteworthy wins and significant milestones that the Wildcats accumulated during the past year. Be sure to follow along at NUsports.com as we revisit the top 20 moments.

    Moment No. 10
    Date March 24, 2013
    Location Freeman Coliseum | San Antonio, Texas
    Original Story Three Wildcats Earn All-America Honors as NU Finishes Ninth at NCAA Championship
    Social Media @NCatFencing   |  Northwestern Fencing
    Top 20 Countdown Northwestern's Top 20 Moments of 2012-13 Countdown

    Since taking the reins of Northwestern's fencing program in 1978, head coach Laurie Schiller has enjoyed a tremendous amount of success. The eight-time Midwest Fencing Conference Coach of the Year has amassed almost 1,150 victories on the strips and has built a culture synonymous with sustained success. Since the 1999-2000 season, the Wildcats have finished no lower than ninth at the NCAA Championship; during that time NU has averaged 34 dual victories per year.

    In late March, four 'Cats made the journey to the Lone Star State with a keen eye toward extending Northwestern's historic streak. Led by not one, not two, but three All-America efforts, the quartet compiled 44 victories to secure yet another top-10 placement at the national-championship meet in San Antonio, Texas.

    Senior Dayana Sarkisova entered her final collegiate competition with three All-America awards already under her belt and in San Antonio she made it a perfect 4-for-4. The Grand Rapids, Mich., native won 13 bouts, including three of her final four, to finish eighth overall in foil. Sarkisova joins Julia Földi, Sam Nemecek and Christa French as the programs only four-time All-Americans.

    The most wins for the Wildcats at the NCAA Championships were contributed by its newest All-American, Courtney Dumas. The sophomore tallied 14 victories in epée to garner a ninth-place finish and become Northwestern's 14th different All-America honoree under Schiller.

    The 2013 All-America trio was rounded out by junior Dina Bazarbayeva. Competing alongside Dumas in epée, the native Texan won 12 bouts at the meet to finish in 12th place overall. Chloe Grainger represented the Wildcats in sabre and added five victories to the team's total.

    The 2012-13 academic year was a memorable one for Northwestern. Over the next several weeks, we will celebrate the conference championships, noteworthy wins and significant milestones that the Wildcats accumulated during the past year. Be sure to follow along at NUsports.com as we revisit our top 20 moments!

    Moment No. 11
    Date April 15-16, 2013
    Location The Glen Club | Glenview, Ill.
    Original Story Perry, Wildcats Run Away With NU Spring Invitational
    Video Video Highlights
    Social Media @PatGossNUGolf   |  Northwestern Men's Golf
    Top 20 Countdown Northwestern's Top 20 Moments of 2012-13 Countdown

    Junior Jack Perry broke a school record held by touring pros David Lipsky and Luke Donald, and Northwestern as a team ran away with its own Spring Invitational that concluded with the final round Tuesday, April 16, at The Glen Club.

    Watch Highlights

    Perry matched his career-best score with a bogey free final round 6-under 66 to finish the tournament at 16-under 200 (67-67-66), the best 54-hole tournament total in school history. He won the event by eight strokes over second-place Boo Timko of Ohio State.

    Perry's total bested the previous mark of 202 established by current Asian Tour and Web.com Tour member David Lipsky at the 2010 UNCG Bridgestone Collegiate and former World No. 1 Luke Donald at the 2001 U.S. Collegiate Championships. His accomplishment is even more impressive considering only two teams and five individuals finished under par at all in the NU Spring Invitational.

    The victory was Perry's second of the season and propelled him to the Big Ten's Les Bolstad Award, given annually to the conference player with the best regular-season stroke average. Perry was the first Wildcat to win that honor since Luke Donald in 2001. Perry also was an All-Big Ten first team, PING All-Region and PING All-America honorable mention award winner.

    The 2012-13 academic year was a memorable one for Northwestern. Over the next few weeks, we will celebrate the conference championships, noteworthy wins and significant milestones the Wildcats accumulated during the past year. Be sure to follow along at NUSports.com as we re-isit the top 20 moments.

    Moment No. 12
    Date Oct. 12, 2012
    Location Zimmer XC Course | Madison, Wis.
    Original Story Huth Blasts School Record to Lead 'Cats in Wisconsin
    Social Media @NUwildcatXC   |  Northwestern Cross Country
    Top 20 Countdown Northwestern's Top 20 Moments of 2012-13 Countdown

    When the story of Northwestern Cross Country's rise to prominence under head coach April Likhite is written, a key chapter will be dedicated to the role that Audrey Huth played in the turnaround during her four years in Evanston. Almost immediately after her arrival on campus in 2009, Huth became a leader for her teammates not just on the cross country course, but also in the confidence and commitment she brought to the program and daily training.

    It took Huth only until her sophomore season in 2010 to become Northwestern's 6K school-record holder, posting a time of 20:35 in the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships that season. But two years later, Huth soared past that mark to record the No. 12 moment in NUsports.com's countdown of the Top 20 Moments of the 2012-13 athletic year.

    Racing at the nationally competitive Wisconsin Adidas Invitational on Oct. 12, 2012, Huth put forth an extraordinary effort to cut 16 seconds off her own school record with a time of 20:19, landing her in 32nd place out of more than 320 runners at the meet. Huth's performance helped the Wildcats finish fourth out of 10 Big Ten teams competing that day in Madison and 27th overall in a field that included 20 nationally ranked squads.

    A native of Shelby, Mich., Huth graduated this spring as the most accomplished cross country runner in program history, twice earning NCAA All-Midwest Region honors as well as All-Big Ten status as a junior in 2011. For her career, Huth was Northwestern's leading finisher in 21 of the 25 meets in which she competed.

    The 2012-13 academic year was a memorable one for Northwestern. Over the next few weeks, we will celebrate the conference championships, noteworthy wins and significant milestones the Wildcats accumulated during the past year. Be sure to follow along at NUSports.com as we re-isit the top 20 moments.

    Moment No. 13
    Date Sept. 1, 2012
    Location Carrier Dome | Syracuse, N.Y.
    Original Story Northwestern Wins Wild Season-Opener Over Syracuse, 42-41
    Social Media @NUFBFamily   |  Northwestern Football
    Top 20 Countdown Northwestern's Top 20 Moments of 2012-13 Countdown

    With high expectations for the 2012 season, Pat Fitzgerald and the Wildcats kicked off the campaign on a steamy day inside the Carrier Dome against Syracuse on Sept. 1. It turned out to be another in a long line of games that have earned NU its moniker of the "Cardiac 'Cats" and one that served as a springboard to one of the best seasons in Northwestern history.

    V. Mark Returns vs. SU

    After a slow first quarter, Northwestern got on a roll beginning with Venric Mark's explosive 82-yard punt return for a touchdown and seized its first lead of the game when, following a Chi Chi Ariguzo interception return to the 21-yard line, Kain Colter found Christian Jones for Colter's first touchdown pass of the year.

    By the time Ariguzo recovered a fumble and ran it in for a touchdown in the third quarter, Northwestern had amassed a 28-13 advantage. But the Orange began mounting a rally and eventually reclaimed the lead, 41-35, with 2:40 to go.

    Enter quarterback Trevor Siemian. The sophomore from Orlando stepped in for Colter and orchestrated a heart-stopping drive, completing 6-of-7 passes along the way and also absorbing a late hit out of bounds -- on a 3rd-and-14 scenario -- to move NU to the 9-yard line. That's when Siemian dropped back and picked out senior wideout Demetrius Fields darting to the corner of the end zone, hitting Fields in stride to level the score at 41 apiece with 44 seconds to play. Jeff Budzien came on to boot the game-winning extra point and, following a defensive stop on the Orange's final drive, Northwestern escaped the Dome with a crucial early-season win.

    The victory kept intact Fitzgerald's perfect record in season-openers as head coach of Northwestern, improving to 7-0. Including Syracuse, Northwestern defeated five teams that played in bowl games last season -- along with Vanderbilt, Minnesota, Michigan State and Mississippi State.

    Moment No. 14: 'Cats Topple Ranked Rival

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    The 2012-13 season was a memorable one for Northwestern. Over the next few weeks, we will celebrate the conference championships, noteworthy wins and significant milestones the Wildcats accumulated during the past year. Be sure to follow along at NUSports.com as we revisit the top 20 moments.

    Moment No. 14
    Date Jan. 17, 2013
    Location Assembly Hall | Champaign, Ill.
    Original Story Wildcats Lead Throughout in 68-54 Win at No. 23/22 Illinois
    Video Video Highlights
    Photos Photo Gallery
    Social Media @NUMensBball   |  Northwestern Men's Basketball
    Top 20 Countdown Northwestern's Top 20 Moments of 2012-13 Countdown

    Assembly Hall in Champaign hasn't always been kind to the Northwestern men's basketball team, but the Wildcats made two in a row over their instate rivals on their home court when NU led from the start en route to a convincing 68-54 victory on Jan. 17.

    Illinois Game Highlights
    At 1-3 in Big Ten play and coming off a rough home loss to Iowa four days earlier, not much was expected of Northwestern as it was set to take on the nation's 23rd-ranked team, a squad that had already notched wins over Butler, Gonzaga and Ohio State.

    However, the Wildcats stormed out to a 10-3 lead and never trailed in the contest. Illinois closed to within 15-11, but a 13-3 run pushed the advantage to 14 with just over five minutes left in the opening half. The advantage would grow to as many as 17 in the opening stanza before Northwestern eventually took a 36-21 lead at the break.

    NU connected on five of its seven 3-point attempts over the opening 20 minutes of play to key the charge. Illinois closed to within 10 early in the second half, but the Wildcats had an answer every time the hosts attempted to make a charge.

    The Illini was still within striking distance at 50-41 with three minutes to go when Jared Swopshire sealed the deal with a driving three-point play. Reggie Hearn led the way for NU, scoring 20 points for the second-consecutive year in a win at Assembly Hall. In all, five Wildcats scored in double figures with the team connecting on 26 of 31 attempts from the free throw line.