Nov. 15, 2012
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern's fencers have been competing in earnest for the past six weeks, but this weekend offers the first opportunity for the Wildcats to come together in a team setting for the annual NU Duals at Patten Gymnasium. The three-day meet opens Friday, Nov. 16 at 6 p.m.
After participating in individual competitions both in Evanston and around the country, the members of NU's squad will team up for a series of 11 duals across Friday night and Saturday. The NU Duals continue on Sunday, Nov. 19, however the Wildcats will not be competing that day.
The 'Cats are a perennially strong team when it comes to dual competition and this year's group should be no exception. Northwestern finished second at the Midwest Fencing Conference Championships marking the best placement since 2007. The Wildcats won 36 of 42 duals in 2011-12 and have won at least 30 duals in each of the last eight seasons.
Head coach Laurie Schiller enters his 36th season at the helm for Northwestern. Schiller boasts 1,111 career victories, including 854 on the women's side.
Schiller's epée squad figures to be amongst the best in the nation this season. All three starters from a year ago return to the lineup led by 2012 First Team All-American Kate Cavanaugh. Cavanaugh, NU's overall captain, is expected to be joined by sophomore Courtney Dumas, who also represented Northwestern at the 2012 NCAA Championships, and Dina Bazarbayeva, who qualified for the NCAA Championships in 2011.
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Dumas has been one of Northwestern's top performers this fall capped by her third-place finish in the Junior Women's epée at the North American Cup event in Virginia Beach, Va. on Monday. The Cleveland, Ohio native also owns a gold medal from the USFA Burton Open in October and a pair of top-10 finishes at Division I North American Cup events this fall.
Bazarbayeva earned a gold medal of her own this fall in epée at the USFA Remenyik Open on Nov. 4.
Three-time All-American Dayana Sarkisova returns for her senior season to lead the Wildcat foilists. Several vacancies in the lineup exist that figure to filled by underclassmen such as sophomore Mary Spohn and freshman Jen Yamin.
Seniors Alicia Gurrieri and Chloe Grainger are back again to lead Northwestern's sabre squad. Both fencers have experience with Gurrieri having qualified in 2010 and Grainger in each of the past two seasons. Freshman Cara Franke may also figure prominently in the squad's success, as will Emily Bruhl,Sarah Bruhl, Sonali Patel, each of whom is converting to sabre this year.
The NU Duals will get started Friday, Nov. 16 at 6 p.m. inside Patten Gymnasium. The Wildcats fence three rounds as they take on Swarthmore, Florida and Chicago with each round expected to last one hour.
The competition resumes Saturday at 8 a.m. with Northwestern slated to battle Iowa, Lawrence, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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