Fencing: Wildcats impress at season-opening Remenyik Open


(Daily file photo by Sean Su)

Katie Van Riper fences an opponent. The senior epee was one of eight Wildcats who competed at the Remenyik Open.

Peter Warren, Reporter


For the second year in a row, Northwestern opened its season at the Remenyik Open in Libertyville, Illinois.

And for the second year in a row, the Wildcats left the Libertyville Sports and Fitness Complex confident about the rest of their season.
Eight NU fencers, competing individually, had top-four finishes at the two-day preseason tournament, highlighted by a top-four sweep in the junior epee competition Saturday.

Sophomore epee Pauline Hamilton defeated freshman epee Anya Harkness in the junior epee final 15-12 to take the event for the second consecutive year. Freshman epee Marta Amador Molina and sophomore epee Shirley Luong, who both had six wins on the day, tied for third place.

“It was really cool that we swept the top four,” coach Zach Moss said. “It is rare that you get a bracket that lines up that way. It is even rarer that when it does, everyone actually wins out.”

Hamilton, who qualified for the NCAA Championships last season, also came in fifth place in the senior epee event.

Junior epee Ella Lombard competed alongside Hamilton in the senior epee competition and finished in third place. The Massachusetts native made a memorable run to the semifinals of the event following two come-from-behind victories in the round of 16 and the quarterfinals.

“There were a couple of moments in Ella’s day where she was fencing some really tough opponents and she had multiple comebacks,” Moss said. “She would be down the whole bout and she just rolled off a bunch of touches at the end to win.”

Sophomore foil Amy Jia notched 16 victories over two days of competition. In the senior foil competition Saturday, she tied for third place with junior foil Sharon Chen, and she went 6-0 in pool play of the junior foil competition Sunday before losing in the quarterfinals.

Junior sabre Maddy Curzon also had an impressive outing Sunday, going undefeated in pool play. She advanced to the last round of the senior sabre competition and lost in the final by a single point.

“Maddy killed it,” Lombard said. “She got to the finals in sabre. That was amazing. She did it with her typical poise, confidence and humility, which is really cool.”

With 11 fencers graduating from last year’s team, the Cats will look to their newcomers to play a vital role. Moss said getting the freshmen, who account for over a third of the team, acclimated to college fencing will be one of the biggest challenges facing the team this year.
Though it will take time for the new additions to fully adjust, the upperclassmen, including Curzon, were happy with how they handled their first collegiate competition.

“I do not know if the freshmen felt like their place results were very impressive but I think how they handled it was extremely impressive,” Curzon said. “The freshmen did a great job, especially in terms of supporting their teammates.”

Curzon and Lombard both said their favorite moments of the tournament were cheering on their teammates. On top of that, Curzon said she believes NU will only go as far as the team’s chemistry will take it.

“We want to win the (Midwest Conference), we want to beat Ohio State, we want to qualify six people for NCAAs, we want to win NCAAs as a women’s team,” Curzon said. “It is a matter, I think, of cheering each other on and working with each other as a group.”

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