Fencing: Northwestern finishes second at Conference Championships Sunday

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Joanne Haner/The Daily Northwestern

A Northwestern fencer faces on in a bout. Northwestern finished second at the Conference Championships this past Sunday.

Aayushya Agarwal, Reporter


Fencing


After hosting the Conference Championships for the first time in more than thirty years, Northwestern did not receive the results it was hoping for.

The Wildcats welcomed teams from across the Midwest — Lawrence, Wayne State, Ohio State, Denison and Cleveland State. After playing undefeated through the first four rounds of the tournament, the NU dropped its next eight bouts to Ohio State, which ended up winning the overall tournament. The Cats ended up fighting back, winning the Epee Squad Conference championship, but it was too little too late.

Coach Zach Moss praised his team’s effort, especially the epee squad, for their performance against high-quality opposition.

“While we did not achieve our ultimate goal of winning the Conference Championships this season, there were some great performances from our team,” Moss said. “(Epee squad) did not drop a single bout against any other team than Ohio State, with an impressive 29-4 record on the day.”

The Cats were also excited to compete at Welsh-Ryan Arena in front of enthusiastic Northwestern fans.

Despite the less-than-anticipated results, Moss said he was thrilled to host the Conference Championships for the first time in so long.

“It was an amazing experience to compete in Welsh-Ryan Arena for the first time since 1989 and the first time since the renovations,” Moss said. “(It) is a fantastic venue for a conference championship event.”

Additionally, the Wildcats were proud of their united effort, despite the struggles they faced.

Junior foil Anna Biasco said the team thrives off of their close bond they share when facing obstacles.

“Everyone gave it their all, supported and celebrated each other no matter wins or losses,” Biasco said. “This past Sunday was tough, but it is days like these that make our team so tight-knit in the long run.”

NU will now set its sights on the NCAA Regionals on March 12 in Columbus, Ohio. With an impressive performance, the Cats can qualify for the NCAA Championships later this month.

Sophomore saber Levi Hoogendoorn shared her opinion on how the Wildcats can better prepare both during and outside of bouts.

“We’ll definitely continue to work on resilience, both on and off the strip,” Hoogendoorn said. “On the strip, this means focusing on one touch at a time; off the strip, this means resetting between bouts, leaning on each other for support and facing each match with confidence.”

Getting a chance to run it back, NU will have the opportunity to face the same teams from this past Sunday again at the NCAA Regionals.

Moss said he looks forward to having the opportunity to match up against similar competition again, but recognized his team will need to make adjustments the next time around.

“We have a good chance to perform very well there, but we need to start strong and maintain that intensity throughout the event,” Moss said. “That will largely be our focus over the next two weeks.”

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