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    October 2013 Archives

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    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!
    Jen Yamin

    Technology Meets Fencing

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    Hello '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 Wildcats!


    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,


    Jen Yamin

    From the Sand to the Strip

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    Hello 'Cats!


    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 team.


    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 November.


    Until next time,


    Jen Yamin

    The Final Byte: Why It Was So Hard To Leave The 'J'

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    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 Bytes.

    I remember the first time I met Kate and Caryl Drohan.