Fencing: Northwestern impresses at Philadelphia duals, remains in top 10


Daily file photo by Sean Su

Katie Van Riper fences against an opponent. The junior went 9-3 in the Cats’ big weekend.

Jonah Dylan, Assistant Campus Editor


Northwestern continued to solidify itself as a top-10 team at the Philadelphia Duals last weekend, going 4-1 and only falling to No. 6 Penn. The No. 9 Wildcats defeated Sacred Heart, Johns Hopkins, No. 8 Temple and Cornell, which fell just outside the national top 10.

“We faced three very strong teams in Cornell, Penn and Temple, and we went toe to toe with all of them,” coach Zach Moss said. “All in all, everyone fenced very well. We like where we’re standing going into the next couple of weekends.”

NU continued to build off momentum from the previous week, when it went 7-0 at Western Duals and notched a win over a Stanford team that received the 12th most votes.

Before losing to the Quakers, the Cats had won 18-straight duals.

Moss said he was pleased with his team’s performance, and that NU could have beaten Penn under different circumstances.

“It was on Penn’s home floor, so there was a little bit of home-court advantage,” he said. “On a different site, that meet may have gone a little bit differently.”

Nonetheless, the Cats have turned their season around, going 18-1 in their last 19 duals after starting the season 0-4.

Sophomore sabre Maddy Curzon led the way for NU, going 8-1. Junior epee Katie Van Riper went 9-3, while senior foil Stephanie Chan and junior foil Kaila Budofsky both went 7-2.

Moss said the team needs to stay focused throughout duals, including a loaded weekend in early February that features a number of top-10 opponents.

“The thing our team needs to continue to do, and as a coaching staff we’ve stressed, is to try to maintain consistent performance,” he said. “A fencing competition is a really long day, and there’s a lot of ebb and flow to the way the competition goes. One of the things we’re working on as a team is to maintain consistency and how we’re performing.”

Last weekend at Western Duals, the Cats beat the Cardinal thanks in large part to senior Alisha Gomez-Shah, who went 3-0. NU also beat UC San Diego and Air Force, two teams that received enough votes to fall in the top 20.

The Cats are still in the thick of a tough regular season schedule that includes consistent duals against fellow top-10 teams. Freshman Pauline Hamilton said the team needs to maintain a level of consistency.

“The goal is not to switch anything or make any drastic changes,” she said. “Just show up and fence the best we can.”

Moss agreed, saying no matter who the team is facing, the preparation should be the same.

“It’s preparation, it’s studying film, and it’s just being mentally prepared for whoever is on the other end of the strip,” he said. “In fencing, no matter what, there’s somebody down there with a pointy object trying to hit you, and you have to be ready for them, whoever they are.”

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