Senior Kristin Howell finished seventh in épée in a field of 128 fencers at the U.S. Fencing North American Cup this weekend. No other fencer in any of the other events placed higher than 13th.
The fencing team traveled across the state to Pittsburgh this past weekend to compete in the U.S. Fencing North American Cup, a showcase of the nation’s best in the sport.
“It was something that we were looking forward to,” coach Nikki Franke said. “This is the strongest competition you can have, and this is the level we want to be fencing on.”
The Owls had several fencers compete in the three events – sabre, épée and foil – during the weekend, but the team’s lone finalist was senior Kristin Howell in the épée. Howell finished seventh overall in a field of 128 fencers. Sophomore Jill Bratton and junior Grace Wu also competed in the épée and placed 62nd and 65th, respectively, in the event.
Franke said some team members performed very well, while others are still looking to improve. Overall, she characterized the event as “an opportunity for [the team] to learn some things that will help us as the season progresses.”
In addition to Howell, sophomore Kamali Thompson also left Pittsburgh with a strong performance, as she competed in the sabre and finished 13th in a field of 62. Thompson was defeated by Columbia University freshman Emily Jacobson, the eventual champion.
“That is a very strong result in a very strong field,” Franke said.
Senior Christie Griffith and junior Audrey Barroso also competed in the sabre, finishing 44th and 52nd, respectively.
The Owls had three members compete in the foil. Sophomore Alyssa Lomuscio had the team’s best finish in the weapon with a 28th-place finish in the 93-fencer field. Freshman Mikayla Varadi finished 40th overall, while senior Melissa Parker finished 46th.
Franke described the tournament’s results “as a typical bell curve” – some participants competed and performed very well, others did not, and the majority were somewhere in the middle.
The Owls return to action Jan. 9 for the Philadelphia Invitational, which will be held at the University of Pennsylvania.
Raymond Boyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.