March 18, 2014
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Five Northwestern fencers will conclude the 2013-14 collegiate campaign this weekend when they represent the Wildcats at the 2014 NCAA Fencing Championship in Columbus, Ohio, March 20-23.
The combined men's and women's championship opens at St. John Arena with the five Wildcats in action on March 20-21. The men will get their opportunity to hit the strips on Saturday, March 22 and Sunday, March 23.
Northwestern's entrants will work to secure a 15th consecutive top-10 finish under the direction of head coach Laurie Schiller. Now in his 37th season at the helm for the Wildcats, Schiller owns 1,183 combined victories and has seen his fencers earn All-America status 30 different times.
Two of Northwestern's five entrants have previous experience on the season's biggest stage. Epée fencers Dina Bazarbayeva and Courtney Dumas both secured All-America accolades in 2013. Dumas, making her second NCAA Championship appearance in as many years, finished ninth in women's epée in San Antonio. Bazarbayeva, NU's lone senior, placed 12th last season and sixth as a freshman in 2011. Dumas led the epée squad with 60 victories during the regular season, while Bazarbayeva captured 54 wins and an individual gold medal in her weapon at the Midwest Fencing Conference Championship earlier this month.
The three other Wildcats selected for the 2014 NCAA Championship will be making the journey for the first time. Sophomore Jen Yamin will be Northwestern's lone foilist in Columbus, while freshmen Julia Abelsky and Alisha Gomez-Shah will be competing in the women's sabre event for the 'Cats. Yamin ranked second on Northwestern's foil team with 32 wins, while Abelsky was NU's overall leader with 69 wins. Gomez-Shah was limited by injury, but persevered to post an eye-popping 25-5 record.
Preliminary rounds 1-4 for the women's foil, epée and sabre will commence at the St. John on Thursday, March 20 at 8:30 a.m. CT. Preliminary rounds 5-7 will be held Friday, March 21 at 8 a.m. with the semifinal and championship bouts slated to get underway at 12:30 p.m. that day.
Northwestern's finish at the NCAA Championship will be based on points earned by Abelsky, Bazarbayeva, Dumas, Gomez-Shah and Yamin. The Wildcats will be awarded one point for each victory for the duration of the competition.
ESPN will provide live coverage of the semifinals and championship bouts on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN App on March 21. Live results throughout the NCAA Championship will be available on NCAA.com.
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