March 19, 2013
EVANSTON, Ill. -- A quartet of Northwestern fencers will wrap up the 2012-13 campaign this weekend when they represent the Wildcats at the 2013 NCAA Fencing Championship in San Antonio, Texas, March 21-24.
The combined men's and women's championship opens with the men's rounds on March 21-22. The women, including the four Wildcats, will get their opportunity to hit the strips on Saturday, March 23 and Sunday, March 24.
Northwestern's entrants will work to secure a 14th consecutive top-10 finish under the direction of head coach Laurie Schiller. Now in his 36th season at the helm for the Wildcats, Schiller owns 1,149 combined victories and has seen his fencers earn All-America status 27 different times.
Four Wildcats will begin their quest for individual and team success on Saturday, March 23. NU will send two fencers for the epée competition and one each for both foil and sabre. All four student-athletes have previous NCAA Championship experience.
The most decorated of Northwestern's fencers heading to San Antonio is senior foilist Dayana Sarkisova. A three-time All-American, the Grand Rapids, Mich., native, owns 369 career victories, which ranks fourth all-time in program history. Sarkisova's career winning percentage of .824 also ranks as the fifth-best in program annals. Her best finish came as a freshman in 2010 when she placed third overall in foil.
Chloe Grainger has won 332 sabre bouts in her illustrious career, more than any fencer in program history (for her weapon). She entered the season in fifth place on that list with 245 and, with 95 victories this season, Grainger now owns the top spot. Her winning percentage (.765) ranks 10th all-time at Northwestern. The Decatur, Ga., native won a team-high 13 bouts at the NCAA Midwest Regional on March 9; she has been to the NCAA Championship in each of the past two seasons.
The other two Wildcats bound for the Lone Star State are epée fencers Dina Bazarbayeva and Courtney Dumas. Bazarbayeva returns to the NCAA Championship for the first time since 2011 when she garnered Second Team All-America honors with a sixth-place finish. The native Texan won 72 bouts this season and an individual silver medal at the Midwest Fencing Conference Championship on March 2. Bazarbayeva has 164 victories all-time at Northwestern.
Dumas, a sophomore, will make the trek o the NCAA Championship for the second-straight season. The Cleveland, Ohio, native posted a squad-best 83 wins during the 2012-13 campaign, including victories over 2012 United States Olympians Courtney Hurley and Susannah Scanlan. Dumas finished 15th at her inaugural NCAA Championship a year ago.
All fencers will compete in a round-robin format of five-touch bouts. After the round-robin, the top-four finishers will fence in semifinal 15-touch bouts, with the winners fencing to determine first and second places, and the losers being awarded a tie for third place.
Preliminary rounds 1-4 for the women's foil, epée and sabre will commence at the Freeman Coliseum on Saturday, March 23 at 10 a.m. Preliminary rounds 5-7 will be held Sunday, March 24 at 9:30 a.m. with the semifinal and championship bouts slated to get underway at 1:45 p.m. that day. A full schedule and results will be available at Championship Central.
Northwestern's finish at the NCAA Championship will be based on points earned by Sarkisova, Grainger, Bazarbayeva and Dumas. 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 24.
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