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Fencing: Northwestern gets ready to regroup after stretch of individual bouts

The ‘Cats remain dominant with their blades.

2021 NCAA Division I Women’s Fencing Championship Photo by Joe Sargent/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Heading into Finals Week, Northwestern’s swords had slashed their way to a 15-6 record — fresh off their worst outing of the season, losing four matches at the Elite Invitational in Philadelphia.

In losses to No. 11 Temple, No. 8 Penn, No. 6 Cornell and No. 1 Princeton, the ‘Cats’ shining star was Megumi Oishi.

In a recent interview with the Daily Northwestern, the freshman sabre, who notched 16 victories in 18 matches in Philly, credited her success to a versatile set of techniques.

Oishi’s dominance held up through the holiday season, as she kicked off the new year with a sixth place finish at the January North American Cup (NAC). Having qualified for the Junior Olympics, Oishi will make the trek to Denver, Colo. next month to compete on one of the world’s most competitive piste.

The NAC circuit puts a pause on team results for December and January, but some Wildcats managed to record victories in their individual tournament appearances.

Sophomore foil Yejine Lee had the best outing of any ‘Cat at the December edition of the NAC, finishing 10th in the Division 1 group.

As for the epées, first-year Karen Wang managed to walk away with a top-25 finish in her Division I category. Anna Damratoski, another freshman, placed 42nd in the same classification.

Despite impressive and consistent bout performances to respectable opponents, Northwestern has swung away at the Coaches’ Poll to no avail. Despite having jabbed their way to ranked wins against No. 15 Stanford and No. 14 North Carolina, the flurry of Ivy League schools that rank ahead of NU have yet to let up either.

Up next, Northwestern heads to the Tufts Invitational, where the Wildcats will get the chance to regroup as a team after a few months of independent play. The last time Northwestern and Tufts faced off, the ‘Cats won, 17-10.

It’ll be important for the squad to regain its chemistry while in Massachusetts, as NU prepares to host one of its most significant matches of the year, its own dual, at the start of February.