March 23, 2012
2012 NCAA Championships
Site: Columbus, Ohio (French Fieldhouse and St. John Arena)
Women's Team Finish: T-8th
NU Individual Finishes:
Epée: Kate Cavanaugh - T-3rd | Courtney Dumas - 15th
Foil: Dayana Sarkisova - 6th | Devynn Patterson - 17th
Sabre: Chloe Grainger - 22nd
NCAA Championship Results
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Northwestern concluded the 2012 NCAA Championships on Friday afternoon with yet another top-10 finish. The Wildcats claimed a share of 8th place during the two-day event, marking the 13th straight year that head coach Laurie Schiller's team has earned a spot in the top 10 of the team standings.
Junior Kate Cavanaugh rode quite the hot streak into the NCAA Championships and she did not let up at Ohio State. After winning the individual gold medal in epée at the Midwest Fencing Conference Championships on March 3, the junior finished as the runner-up at the NCAA Regional Championships in Cleveland behind teammate Courtney Dumas.
On day one Thursday, Cavanaugh tied Penn State's Margherita Guzzi Vincenti for the most wins in epée with 13 through four rounds. In rounds five through seven on Friday, Cavanaugh won four more times to secure a fourth-place finish in the pool and a spot in the semifinals, which were televised live Friday afternoon on ESPN3.com.
In the semifinals Cavanaugh was matched up with Guzzi Vincenti for the second time on the day. The Nittany Lion won the first bout between the two earlier Friday, 5-3.
The semifinal bout started evenly with the fencers trading touches through the duration of the first period. When time expired at the end of the first the score was knotted at five points apiece.
Guzzi Vincenti began to take control of the bout in the second period. After the fencers scored a double-touch to begin the frame, Guzzi Vincenti collected three straight touches to open a two-point gap with an 8-6 advantage. Cavanaugh earned a point on the second double-touch of the period to make it 10-7 in favor of Guzzi Vincenti, but she was outscored 5-0 the rest of the way to concede the bout.
Cavanaugh finished tied for third in epée along with Katherine Holmes of Princeton. She became the 13th different Wildcat to earn All-America honors in program history. The junior's third-place finish is the highest of her career and the top placement by an NU fencer since Dayana Sarkisova finished third in foil two years ago. Cavanaugh is the fourth 'Cat to earn a First Team distinction joining Sarkisova (Foil, 2010), Kate Rudkin (Epée, 2002) and Vivian Imaizumi (Sabre, 2000).
Speaking of Sarkisova, the two-time All-American earned that distinction for a third straight time in Columbus. Sarkisova finished sixth in foil with 16 wins; she won 11 bouts on day one and another five on day two. The junior defeated two of the semifinalist fencers in pool play, Evgeniya Kirpicheva of St. John's, 5-3, and Luona Wang of Penn, 5-2. Kirpicheva went on to win the national championship by defeating Wang, 15-8.
Sarkisova joins Christa French, Sam Nemecek, Julia Földi and Rudkin as Northwestern student-athletes to be named All-America at least three times. French, Nemecek and Földi each collected All-America accolades four times.
Fencing at her first NCAA Championships, Dumas held her own for the 'Cats in epée. The newcomer won 10 bouts over the two-day competition and placed 15th overall in epée. She climbed three spots Friday after ending day one in 18th.
Four-time NCAA Championship qualifier Devynn Patterson notched her best individual finish since taking 13th in 2009. NU's lone senior in the field finished 17th in 2012 with eight victories. Patterson won four more bouts Friday after collecting the same amount of triumphs on day one. The Seattle, Wash., native knocked then-unbeaten Mona Shaito of Ohio State, 5-3, Friday and Wang, 5-2. Shaito won 21 bouts in pool play, more than any fencer in each of the three weapons.
Chloe Grainger sustained an injury on day one that forced her to withdraw from the NCAA Championships. The junior won three bouts before bowing out Thursday. She finished 22nd in her second straight appearance in Columbus.
Be the first to know what's going on with the 'Cats -- Follow @NU_Sports on Twitter, become a fan of Northwestern Athletics on Facebook! and subscribe to the NU Sports Express e-newsletter to receive the latest news, schedule updates and video and to interact with NU. For more information on following specific Northwestern teams online, visit our Social Media page!