3 fencers take top-20 spots at tournament (Fencing)

Lily Leung

Northwestern foilist Christina Wang said her 15th-place finish at last weekend’s United States Fencing Association Junior Olympics Fencing Championships was bittersweet.

The sophomore was one of four NU fencers who competed in the final junior competition of their careers. The event, an under-20 tournament in Cleveland held Saturday through Monday, was the Wildcats’ final regular-season match.

“Some of us are excited about moving on and some of us are sad,” Wang said. “I’m sad, but more excited because I’ll be fencing at harder competitions.”

Wang and teammates Sharon Sullivan, Emily Pasternak and Courtney DuBois will be celebrating their 21st birthdays by the time next year’s Junior Olympics roll around.

On the van ride home from the Junior Olympics, coach Laurie Schiller said the four fencers discussed ending one chapter of their fencing careers.

“It’s tough doing juniors for so long and then be considered too old,” Schiller said. “That’s the first time in a long time someone’s had to tell them that.”

Overall, six of nine Cats made the top 32 at the tournament and three made the top 20 — an all-time high for NU.

Freshman Jessica Florendo tied for 10th out of 170 fencers in the foil competition, while Wang followed with a 15th-place finish. Both fencers improved on last year’s performances at the Junior Olympics. Florendo placed 22nd, while Wang placed 27th. Freshman Lauren Olson, a walk-on foilest, placed 129th. Schiller said he is pleased with the novice’s performance at her first national competition.

“Lauren fenced excellently at this meet,” Schiller said.

Freshman Mai Vu placed 25th out of 108 sabreists. Vu, an automatic qualifier for the tournament, did considerably better than her 60th-place finish last year. Vu has placed in the top 32 of all of this year’s junior events.

“I did okay,” Vu said. “I see that I am more consistent and that I’ve reached another level since last year.”

Freshman sabreist Sophie Eustis tied for 28th, an improvement from her 56th-place finish last year as a high school student. Sophomore sabreist Pasternak placed 56th.

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