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    DeCicco Duals Recap

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    This past weekend Northwestern Fencing headed over to South Bend, Indiana for the DeCiccio Duals, our last dual meet of the season.


    The morning began with a tough match against Ohio State. A strong finish came from the epée squad, consisting of Juliana Barrett, Mandeep Bhinder, Christina Allen, and Kaitlyn Wallace, who won five of their nine overall bouts. Even with the absence of senior Dina Bazarbayeva and junior Courtney Dumas, who were abroad for the weekend and competing in a World Cup, the underclassmen successfully stepped up. By the end of the match, we realized that many of our losses were by just one touch, revealing that this is a strategy we will have to work at even harder in practice.


    The next match was against Notre Dame, who we have already fenced many times this year. This time the sabre squad pulled off a 5-4 victory with freshmen Ania Parzecki and Cindy Oh winning two bouts each. After battling it out against the Fighting Irish on their home turf, we ultimately fell 20-7.


    The third round proceeded with a match against Penn State, a team we have yet to compete against this season. It was refreshing to compete against fencers we have not seen since the Duke Duals of last year. Although we lost a close match, 16-11, the epée squad showed dominance again by winning their bouts 6-3.


    The second half of the day looked brighter as we posted victories against Cleveland State, Detroit, and Wayne State. One benefit of the DeCiccio Duals is that we are able to focus our attention on Ohio State and Notre Dame, who we will be competing against in the upcoming Midwest Fencing Conference Championships on March 1-2 in South Bend. This allows us to analyze our mistakes against specific opponents, leaving room for correction out on the strip in a few weeks.


    The weekend, although short, proved to be valuable in that we each walked away with a lesson learned and increased motivation to push for victory in a few weeks.


    I want to give a special shoutout to Justin Blatner, our Sports Performance coach, who traveled with us this weekend. He was a great supporter for the Wildcats and became a lot more familiar with the sport of fencing.


    Go 'Cats - Jen

    Catching Up with the 'Cats

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    Hello Wildcats!

    The past few weeks have been filled with practices, meets, flights, and road trips as we continue on through our competitive season. In this week's blog I'll cover our meets at Virginia Beach, New York City, Philly, and our home duals here in Evanston over the weekend.

    January North American Cup - Virginia Beach, Va.

    The first trip since the last entry took place in Virginia Beach, where nine of my teammates competed in the January North American Cup. The wildcats, as expected, all finished with amazing results. Junior Courtney Dumas brought home a medal after finishing sixth in the Division I women's epee event. Freshman Mandeep Bhinder, also an epee fencer, took 17th place out of a solid field of 120 fencers in the junior women's epee competition. Other significant finishes came from freshmen Alisha Gomez-Shah, placing 17th in Division I women's saber, and Stephanie Chan who placed 22nd in junior women's foil. The freshmen continued to come in strong with Kayla Kelch taking 30th in junior women's foil and Kimmy Fishman placing 33rd in a tough Division I women's foil event. As promised, I've provided some sabre footage of freshman Alisha Gomez-Shah winning a thrilling bout against an Ohio State opponent 15-14. Overall it was a great weekend for Northwestern fencing out on the East Coast!

    NYU and Philly Invitationals

    Following the North American Cup, we reunited in Patten Gymnasium and intensively prepared for one of the toughest weekends of the season: the NYU and Penn Invitationals. This is always one of my favorite meets because we compete against some of the highest-ranked teams in the country. Not to mention we get to eat dinner at some of my teammates' houses. After flying into New York, we went straight to the Goldstein residence where junior Mary Spohn and I continued our annual tradition of devouring Napoleon cake like it's the last chance we will ever have to eat again. The next night, we had dinner at Charlotte Sands' house. The home-cooked meal was absolutely delicious, and I am still drooling about Charlotte's dad's brisket.

    We began the weekend at NYU where we competed against Columbia, Yale, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Wayne State, and NYU. After a long day of competition, we went 3-3, improving our record to 19-3 for the season. By 8:00 that evening we were on our way to Penn for the Philadelphia Invitational. While there, we defeated Johns Hopkins, Cornell, Sacred Heart, and Penn. The match against Penn was both exciting and nerve-wracking, as it came down to the final touch. Freshman Mandeep Bhinder was able to pull away a win in a suspenseful priority bout, giving us the 14-13 win against Penn. Her celebration of unexpected jumps and screams were almost as good as the win itself.

    Our one loss for the day was against Temple, where many of the deciding bouts were lost by just one touch. As a result, we've been drilling these types of bouts during practice. We replicated the scenario by making the score tied, adding pressure to get that final touch towards victory. We returned from this trip with many lessons learned and increased motivation to beat them next time.

    NU Duals and Dina Day

    The next weekend we were back at home for the Northwestern Duals, where we would compete against ten schools from around the country. Before the fencing began, we recognized our lone senior and captain, Dina Bazarbayeva. We honored her success and contributions with flowers and blown up pictures of Dina's face (see below). Once the ceremony was over, we opened the day with a match against UC San Diego. Closing them out with an 18-9 victory, we moved on to a rematch against Temple, who we lost to the weekend before.

    With the help of packed stands and the hunger for revenge, we were able to beat Temple 17-10. Our focused drilling that worked to correct our mistakes against Temple the previous weekend clearly had a positive effect on our performance. The next match was against Penn, where we lost by just one close bout. Despite our loss, freshman sabre fencer Ania Parzecki was able to pull through with three wins.

    The first day of NU Duals concluded with wins against Duke, Cal Tech, and Tufts. The intensity heightened against Duke, as the sophomores, juniors, and senior on the team did not want to repeat our tough loss against them last season. Fortunately that was not the case, as we beat them 19-8. The next day, we competed against Farleigh Dickinson, North Carolina, Lawrence, and Princeton. Our only loss was against Princeton, who is currently ranked first in the country. With an 8-2 record for the weekend, we turn our focus to our next meet in South Bend for the Notre Dame Duals.

    Thanks for reading and as always, Go 'Cats! - Jen