Fencing: Individual competition readies Wildcats for big weekend ahead

Abbey Chase, Reporter

As preparation for a competitive weekend at the Philadelphia and NYU Invitationals, six of the team’s freshmen, as well as sophomore Courtney Dumas, traveled to Louisville, Ky., last weekend to compete in the three junior events at the January North American Cup.

“Overall I was fairly happy,” coach Laurie Schiller said. “Yes, the results could have been better, but I was fairly happy with the improvement in the fencing that I saw. I thought that (freshman) Mikela Goldstein competed and fenced well, (freshman) Jen (Yamin) fenced as well as I’ve seen her fence recently. … We use these events to fence good people and see some people that we may be seeing later.”

Yamin placed the highest of her teammates, finishing seventh in the foil competition, while her teammate Goldstein finished 27th in the same event. 

“I was relatively happy with this weekend,” Goldstein said. “A problem of mine is being nervous, and I think this competition I really got rid of those nerves and just did what I needed to do, went to the competition, fenced as hard as I could and got a result that I’m happy with.”

In the third round of direct elimination, Goldstein dropped a tough bout 15-11 against Kasey Iverson to bow out of the event. 

“That was disappointing and frustrating, especially because it was against an opponent that I know I could put up a much better fight against,” Goldstein said. “She fenced well, but I think that a lot of the mistakes were on me. It was upsetting because I saw that I was on a path to have a great day and then I fell a little shorter than I would have liked to.”

The only sophomore traveling this past weekend, Dumas placed 14th in the epee competition, the highest of the four fencers representing NU in that event. 

“Going into the weekend, it’s been probably around two years since I haven’t medaled in that event and haven’t gone 6-0 so it was definitely a different feeling that day, having come out of pool 4-2 versus 6-0,” Dumas said. “It just felt a little off and I just lost my focus.”

This weekend marked the final junior competition for Dumas, who turns 20 in April, with the exception of the Junior Olympics next month. While it may not have been Dumas’s best result, the experience is an important step in building up to the team’s big duals.

“I’ve learned a lot of lessons from this weekend and I think it helped me prepare for this upcoming weekend,” Dumas said. “It’s definitely more helpful to be fencing more frequently. It just keeps you at a high level of competition.”

For the fencers that traveled during the weekend, the competition served as the perfect tune-up for the weekend’s upcoming battle, in which the Cats will face five of the nation’s top 10 teams. This will be the first time this season that NU will head to a dual meet where they are not the clear favorite. 

“I think the team always fences better as a team with their teammates there,” Schiller said. “ … when we get together as a group, we do a lot better. I think it was a good trip and I think it’s good preparation for those that went for this weekend, which is going to be 12 matches and six of them pretty rough.”