March 11, 2014
EVANSTON -- Five Northwestern fencers have been selected to participate in the 2014 NCAA Fencing Combined Men's and Women's Championship March 20-21 at St. John Arena in Columbus, Ohio, the selection committee announced Tuesday.
Returning All-Americans Dina Bazarbayeva and Courtney Dumas will both represent the Purple and White at Ohio State in the women's epée competition. It will be the third championship for both Bazarbayeva, a two-time All-America honoree, and Dumas, a 2013 All-American.
Bazarbayeva and Dumas combined to win more than 100 bouts during the regular season Dumas, a junior from Cleveland, Ohio, led the epée squad with 60 wins, while Bazarbayeva, NU's lone senior, posted a record of 53-14. Bazarbayeva went on to win an individual gold medal at the Midwest Fencing Conference Championship earlier this month by rallying from a late 13-9 deficit to win 15-13 over Notre Dame's Nicole Ameli. Dumas finished second, behind Ameli, at the NCAA Midwest Regional last weekend.
Joining the pair in Columbus will be a sophomore, foilist Jen Yamin, and two freshmen sabre fencers, Julia Abelsky and Alisha Gomez-Shah. This will be the first NCAA Championship appearance for all three fencers.
Yamin won 32 bouts as a young leader for NU's foil squad this season. Abelsky won the most bouts of any Northwestern fencer this season, claiming 69 victories. Gomez-Shah battled injury throughout much of the winter, but posted a 25-5 record to earn her place at the national championship.
Fencers will compete in a round-robin format of five-touch bouts. After the round-robin, the top-four finishers in each weapon will fence in semifinal 15-touch bouts, with the winners fencing to determine first and second places, and the non-advancing fencers being awarded a tie for third place.
Northwestern's place finish in the championships will be based on points earned by each individual. A team will be awarded one point for each victory by its student-athletes for the duration of the championships. The Wildcats have finished in the top 10 in each of the past 14 seasons under head coach Laurie Schiller.
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