Fencing: Sister act is successful at tournament

Matt Forman

Sophomore twin sisters Kayley and Christa French have set the tempo for Northwestern all season long.

In early October, the sisters met in the epée field championship in the season-opening Burton Open. The Frenches won all five matches in pool play before Kayley defeated Christa for the gold medal.

In November at the Junior North American Cup, Christa placed third while Kayley placed eighth to qualify for the Junior Olympics this weekend in Charlotte, N.C. Fencers younger than 20 years old who pre-qualified competed in the USFA National Junior Olympics.

“For some of the kids that went (to the Junior Olympics), they’re still working on the game and this was a chance to fence some people they don’t see very often,” coach Laurie Schiller said. “But the two gals who did best were Kayley and Christa French, who did very well.”

The sisters from Southlake, Texas, a Dallas suburb, paced the Wildcats again. Kayley finished ninth out of 175 competitors in epée, the best of any NU fencer. Christa finished 10th, one spot behind Kayley.

Cats fencing in sabre and foil also competed and placed in the top half of their respective weapons.

Freshman Jill Mahen placed 46th out of 129 competitors in the sabre division, while sophomore Meredith Baskies finished 76th in the 155-person field in foil.

“I was pleased that all of the girls – every one of them – made it out of the pools into their direct elimination tables,” Schiller said. “That was very good to see.”

The Cats will compete in the Midwest Conference Championships in South Bend, Ind., this weekend. No. 6 NU will fence top-ranked Notre Dame and No. 3 Ohio State, among others.