Fencing: Northwestern hosts Winter Duals, first tournament of the year


Seeger Gray/The Daily Northwestern

A Northwestern fencer prepares to strike. The Wildcats competed at the NU Duals over the weekend.

Aayushya Agarwal, Reporter

Coming off victories at the DeCicco Duals, Northwestern hosted its first tournament of the year this past weekend: the NU Winter Duals.

At the annual tournament, the Wildcats competed against several top programs on their home stripes, including No. 6 Ohio State, No. 9 Temple and No. 4 Cornell. While their performance was not at the caliber of the previous weekend, they still competed at a high level. 

Some notable individual performances included that of sophomore Sky Miller, who went 7-3 against tough competition to set the tone for the saber squad. Freshman Hanna Lipthay also performed well, finishing 9-3 to anchor the epee squad. On the foil team, senior Alyssa Chen, with a 10-5 record, and graduate student Sarah Filby, with a 10-6 record, stood out. 

Coach Zach Moss reflected upon his team’s mixed results over the past weekend, addressing where he feels his team struggled. 

Across the weekend, we generally fenced well and performed up to our abilities. However, we weren’t able to consistently perform to our team’s full ability across all squads at the same time,” Moss said. “While this isn’t uncommon, the ebbs and flows of each weapon squad led to a little bit of inconsistent team performance when it came to records in meets.” 

Moss’s players shared similar sentiments about the past weekend’s performances, but highlighted several positive takeaways. 

Junior foil Anna Biasco pointed out teams against which the Cats performed much better against this past weekend than in bouts earlier in the season. In particular, she highlighted the team’s resilience against Stanford. 

“I was really excited about beating Stanford after our loss to them earlier in the season,” Biasco said. “It really shows our team’s resilience and grit this season. Every competition grows our team closer together, and that close unity is what makes our team so strong and really stand out.” 

For Moss, students’ enthusiasm for the tournament meant more to him than the results. 

Moss said he appreciated NU students who came out to watch a sport that is not as well known in the community. He looks forward to hosting another tournament in a few weeks and hopes to see a similar level of student engagement. 

“We had some great support during the event. With a long day of competition, spectators came and went throughout the day. It always felt like there was a solid group of supporters there cheering us on and celebrating with us,” Moss said.

With Big Ten and regional tournaments coming in the next several weeks, NU has now shifted its focus onto the postseason. 

Moss remains confident in his team’s ability to perform at a prominent level for the upcoming higher-stakes tournaments. He believes that regardless of the result, his team always can learn and implement new strategies for future bouts. 

“We are getting closer and closer to where we want to be with each event. I can see the individual and collective growth match to match,” Moss said. “We have gained so much experience that should translate into some great postseason performances from our team.” 

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