Fencers Take On Northwestern Tournament

Two members of the WRA Fencing team traveled to Chicago for a weekend challenge.

The Pioneer fencers had a trek to Northwestern University for the weekend of October 1st and 2nd for a regional event. Last year the team was ready to enter a regional event in March. This year, with the summer work that our fencers put in to be prepared for the fall, the group was better prepared for these larger events. We took senior captain Kirill Zherebtcov and junior Ethan Tan to fence in the Junior Men’s Foil and Junior Men’s Sabre, respectively. Neither of the boys had been to Chicago before and the drive up to campus took us along Lakeshore Blvd., through the sights of the city. The venue was the Ryan Field House, which overlooks Lake Michigan. 

Ethan fenced first on Sunday morning in the Sabre event. Out of 25 fencers, 12 of them were nationally ranked. Ethan had done one Sabre event last winter, trained over the summer with a coach, and participated in two small tournaments in the Cleveland area this fall. The tournament today was the thickest he had faced. In situations such as this, when one goes to a regional tournament for the first time, the goal is to score touches and gain experience from the opponents. Ethan jumped on this opportunity right away. He found himself a pod of half a dozen fencers to warm up with. He was working with fencers from Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis, and Sacramento. He was fencing with other high school fencers and university fencers. When his pool started he was ready to go. Ethan’s pool had the highest rated fencer in the event and all but he and one other competitor were rated. Ethan scored points in every bout, even surprising the B-rated fencer from Wayne State with a strong attack. He had two bouts that he lost by one touch. In his elimination bout, he faced a D-rated fencer who had been in his pool. Ethan attempted strong attacks but suffered the loss to a more experienced opponent. 

Kirill started soon after Ethan’s event finished. In a field of 51 fencers, the majority of whom were rated, Kirill started his day with a pool of six fencers. Kirill was in the middle of the group and came away with two victories. This put Kirill on par with his pool performance at the last regional event in March. He drew the 30th seed and had to fence the 35th seed from a sister club to the Notre Dame program. The bout started with Kirill down by four until he brought the score to an even 6. It went back and forth from there, with both fencers scoring two in a row, before the other caught up and got ahead. Unfortunately, Kirill’s opponent got the last cycle of touches to come away with the 15-12 win. 

Both fencers took in the view before a long drive home and a new set of goals for the coming weeks. Please congratulate them when you see them on campus.