If I were to pick one word that accurately sums up our weekend at the Midwest Fencing Conference Championships (March 1-2), it would be pride.
From the "N" on our masks to the purple tattoos on our faces, we represented Northwestern athletics in an honorable and gratifying manner. When senior Dina Bazarbayeva won gold and claimed the individual championship, I could not have been more proud. In an intense final bout, she was down 13-9 to a fencer from Notre Dame. Remaining calm, Dina strategized and rallied for six remarkable points in a row to win, 15-13.
Dina has not only been an impeccable captain, but an extremely motivating and inspirational contributor to our team this year as well. Her determined, stringent work ethic translated easily to the strip as she has accomplished an impressive 53-13 record. In addition to Dina's undisputable talent, her leadership and solicitousness for the underclassmen truly have had positive and impactful effects.
Our twelve freshmen also represent the strong sense of pride I leave MFC's with. I've watched them grow from their first sprints on North beach to claiming victories for the Wildcats in high-pressure situations. I think I can speak for the rest of the team when I say that the freshmen have played a huge role in our successes this season. They performed even bigger than we could have ever expected.
Overall as a team, we did not place as high as we hoped. But knowing that we left everything we had out on the strip, we are proud to have earned third place overall. From what I experienced this weekend, I can tell that each of us learned of an aspect of our own games to improve upon. With our last week of practice before the NCAA Midwest Regional in Detroit, Michigan we intend on making the most of our time on the strip with hard-work, perseverance, and most of all, pride.
Thanks for reading and as always, Go 'Cats! - Jen
P.S.: I'd like to give a very special and important shout-out to our absolutely phenomenal athletic trainer, Erica Kendrick, who has helped us all through a plethora of injuries this season. We couldn't have done it without you!