Fencing: NCAA Midwest Regional Fencing Championships up next for Northwestern

Alex Lederman, Reporter

No. 9 Northwestern (34-9) continues its hunt for playoff glory this weekend at the NCAA Midwest Regional Fencing Championships in Detroit.

“What we’re doing this week is simply getting down to working on the little issues that didn’t come together this past weekend,” coach Laurie Schiller said. “We’re just working a little more on technical or tactical issues.”

The Wildcats are coming off a bronze medal run at the Midwest Fencing Conference Championship in South Bend, Ind. — a strong, but somewhat disappointing, result. Although conferences have both individual and team meets and include all varsity and club teams from the conference, regionals contain only solo competitions from the Division I teams.

NU fencers will square off against foes from Cleveland State, Detroit, Lawrence, Mercy, No. 4 Notre Dame, No. 2 Ohio State and Wayne State this weekend in epee, foil and sabre.

None of these teams are strangers to the Cats. Ohio State and Notre Dame are two of NU’s biggest rivals, and each has defeated the Cats multiple times this season. Ohio State topped NU 23-4 at the NYU Invitational and 18-9 at the Notre Dame Duals. The Buckeyes’ foil squad also defeated the Cats’ this weekend in the semifinals at the conference championships. Notre Dame conquered NU in New York, 18-9, and South Bend, 20-7, and the Cats’ epee and sabre squads fell to the Fighting Irish in the semifinals over the weekend.

NU cruised past all of the other foes they will face this weekend in previous matchups. The team triumphed over Cleveland State and Detroit, 26-1; Lawrence, 24-3; and Wayne State twice, 24-3 and 20-7.

“We know the kids who we have to fence, and we have three days to prepare for it before we’re off to Detroit,” Schiller said.

This time, the teams are not actually squaring off. Instead, individual fencers will compete for the top spots.

NU will send its veterans out for the epee battles. Senior Dina Bazarbayeva (53-13) — the gold medalist at the conference championship — and junior Courtney Dumas (61-17) have been constants in Schiller’s lineup. Sophomore Juliana Barrett (54-22) and freshman Mandeep Bhinder (51-22) — who snatched third at conferences — have also been strong performers for the epee squad this year.

 The foil and sabre squads have much younger cores. Sophomore Jen Yamin (28-16), a Daily columnist, and freshman Stephanie Chan (40-18) lead the charge in foil and freshmen Alisha Gomez-Shah (25-5), Cindy Oh (59-26), Ania Parzecki (65-24) and Julia Abelsky (64-31) head up the sabres.

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