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Fencing: Freshmen show skill in USFA NAC

By Laura Coletti | Tuesday, January 22, 2013

While the Irish upperclassmen continued to practice in preparation for the start of the collegiate fencing season, several freshmen traveled to Louisville, Ky., for the United States Fencing Association North American Cup (USFA NAC).

Fencers compete as individuals in National Tournaments, as opposed to the collegiate season, during which they compete for Notre Dame as a team. The USFA NAC is a junior event, meaning only athletes under the age of 19 can compete.

Nicole McKee and Sarah Followill competed in women’s foil, Catherine Lee competed in women’s epee, Garrett McGrath and John Poremski competed in men’s epee, and John Hallsten competed in men’s saber. Lee turned in the best performance of the weekend, taking home the gold in her event.

McKee, who took home a bronze medal, said North American Cup helped the underclassmen continue to prepare for their first collegiate season. She also said once the collegiate season begins, the newcomers willwould need to adjust to a few major differences.

She said the length and individualization of the National Tournaments create a more relaxed atmosphere for the competitors.

“Matches are longer, so you have more time to set up your actions and think, so it’s not at rushed,” she said. “There is definitely less pressure. You also don’t have the added burden of potentially letting your team down.”

With collegiate competition beginning Saturday, McKee said the freshmen would have to get used to fencing against older competition.

“National tournaments are a pretty broad age group, so I’ve been pretty confident in that respect,” she said. “Now, [the competition] is going to be other college’s top fencers, so that’s a huge difference. Now it’s all college kids who are older.”

McKee and the rest of the Irish will kick off their collegiate season this weekend when they participate in the St. John’s duals on Saturday in Queens, N.Y.

Contact Laura Coletti at lcoletti@nd.edu