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Fencing: Northwestern puts five in top 25 at December NAC

A nice finish to the fall quarter for the ‘Cats.

Ryan Kuttler / Northwestern Athletics

In early December, Northwestern fencing headed to Richmond, Virginia to compete at the December edition of North American Cup (NAC). There, five Wildcats finished in the top 25 of their respective events, with first-year Alex Chen finishing 10th in the junior women’s sabre.

Northwestern started off well with the Division I sabre. After earning a bye into the table of 64, sophomore Megumi Oishi won her first bout with a 15-8 victory over Elaine Lu. Although Oishi fell in the following round to third-place finisher Lola Possick, her No. 6 ranking earned her a 17th-place finish to lead the ‘Cats. Chen finished 38th, while Kailing Sathyanath came 91st.

In the D1 foil the next day, NU experienced a little less success. Yejine Lee fell to Audrey Yang by a 15-11 margin, while Rowan Park lost to Notre Dame’s Josephina Conway 15-6 in the table of 128. Lee finished in 67th, while Park earned 90th.

Despite that, Northwestern bounced back in the Division I epee, in which it had three fencers compete. Karen Wang, who entered the tournament tied for the top seed, automatically earned a bye into the second round. Ava Wade-Currie, a first-year, advanced with Wang by earning a 15-12 upset over Youshan Shu, who was seeded 27 spots higher than Wade-Currie. While Anna Damratoski lost to Azniv Basralian of Elite FC in New Jersey, it was a tight 11-10 bout that went down to the wire.

Wade-Currie was promptly ousted 15-1 by eventual semifinalist Miriam Grady, but Wang continued her run into the Round of 16 with a thrilling 9-8 win over Metropolitan NYC’s Pauline Hamilton. She then took Mira Yamanaka of Columbia the distance, but was edged out in a 15-14 bout. Yamanaka would go on to lose to Grady in the following round. Ultimately, Wang led the way in 17th, while Wade-Currie and Damratoski placed 56th and 65th, respectively.

Damratoski and Wang would enjoy even more success in the junior epee. Wang took her first two bouts in much less dramatic fashion, defeating Catherine Witter of EFA in Virginia 15-7 and taking down Linden Zheng 14-7. She then lost to Canada’s Ruien Xiao, who won the entire thing, to finish in 22nd overall.

Damratoski won three consecutive bouts after earning a bye with her No. 24 seed. Winning 15-6, 14-10 and 15-12, the sophomore found herself in the round of 16 in a field of 136. While she lost to Nicole Milewski in a 15-13 bout, Damratoski’s run earned her a 13th-place finish.

The day prior, Chen earned Northwestern’s best finish of the invitational. Earning an auto bye into the round of 128 as the No. 9 seed, Chen started off with a dominant 15-4 victory over Long Island FC’s Scarlett Shelley. Globus Fencing Academy’s (North Texas) Elizabeth Kondev gave her a much tougher bout in a 15-14 win for Chen, but nevertheless, the Northwestern sabrist found herself in the Round of 32.

Chen easily beat 24th-seeded Yining Wang in a 15-7 victory, putting her in a Round of 16 showdown with Metropolitan NYC’s Aria Bevacqua, who was the No. 8 seed. The New Yorker prevailed in a 15-6 bout, but Chen’s efforts would earn a 10th-place finish.

After a month-long winter break, Northwestern is back in action this weekend in San Jose, California at the January NAC. It will follow that by heading east to Medford, Massachusetts for the Tufts Invitational next Sunday.