2003 Women's Fencing Season Recap

Another Winning Season

April 28, 2003

The women's fencing team turned in its second-straight 13-win season, topping the 13-victories it recorded in 2002 by going 14-5 overall and 2-3 in the Ivy League. Highlights during the campaign included wins over No. 9 Rutgers, Stanford, Duke and M.I.T., all of which received votes along with Penn in the final United States Fencing Coaches Association (USFCA) poll. The Red and Blue combined with the men for an 11th-place finish at NCAA's (15th as a team) and combined with the men for a fourth-place finish at IFA's (fifth as a team). Also, both the epee and sabre teams earned bronze medals at the IFAs.

Two freshmen led the Quakers in victories as Jean Goto won a team-high 35 epee bouts followed by weapon and classmate Livia Rurarz-Huygens, who captured 34 bouts. Penn also had three more 30-win fencers, as senior sabre Christina Verigan and sophomore foil Emanuelle Humblet each won 33 duels, and freshman foil Christina Kaneshige recorded 32 victories.

Four more members of the Red and Blue chipped in with 20-win seasons as freshman foil Kate Napalkova just missed the 30-win plateau with 29 victories, junior June Hsu in her first season at sabre won 25 bouts, while senior epee Kimberly Linton and sophomore sabre Kate Zimmerly each racked up 24 victories.

The Best of the Best
It was two sophomores and three freshmen that took home postseason honors for the Red and Blue in 2003 as Livia Rurarz-Huygens received Penn's Award for Excellence. The freshman went 34-11 overall and 9-6 in Ivy bouts. She placed seventh at the Mid-Atlantic/South Regional championships.

Jean Goto earned All-Ivy and All-American honors after leading the Quakers with a record of 35-14. She earned honorable mention for All-America from the USFCA after placing ninth at the NCAA Championships. Goto was one of two members of the Red and Blue to earn a first-team All-Ivy nod after recording an 11-4 mark in the Ancient Eight.

Joining Goto on the All-Ivy first-team was Christina Kaneshige, who went 10-5 in League bouts and 32-12 overall. Kaneshige also finished eighth at Regionals.

Sophomore Emanuelle Humblet earned a second-team All-Ivy berth after going 9-6 in Ivy action and 33-17 overall. She has averaged 37 victories in her first two seasons as a Quaker. In addition, Humblet also turned in an 18th-place finish at Regionals.

Second-year fencer Kate Zimmerly was named the Red and Blue's Most Improved Fencer after recording a career-high 24 wins and placing 18th in her first NCAA Championships appearance.

Balancing Act
Seniors Kimberly Linton and Elizabeth Kreidman made the epee lineup the Red and Blue's strongest entering the 2003 campaign. And while the weapon was once again a force for the Quakers, Linton and Kreidman received some help to make the epee perhaps Penn's most balanced squad.

Linton was her usual brilliant self, recording a mark of 24-14, her fourth-straight 20-win season. Kreidman made the most of her time in the lineup, winning 13 bouts. But the real story at epee in 2003 for Penn was the play of freshmen Jean Goto and Livia Rurarz-Huygens, who combined for 69 wins. Goto led the team with 35 victories, while Ruarz-Huygens was right behind her with 34 wins to her credit.

Also not to be lost was the continued strong play of sophomore Rebecca Richman, who went 9-3.

Another Young Lineup
The women's foil squad marked the youngest unit on both the men's and women's teams as sophomore Emmanuelle Humblet and freshmen Christina Kaneshige and Kate Napalkova combined for 74 victories.

Humblet, who in just her second year was the veteran of the group, posted her second-straight 30-win season by going 33-17 to lead the weapon. Kaneshige followed right on her heels with a 32-12 mark. Napalkova rounded out the foil starters with a record of 29-19 and boasted two victories over ranked-Columbia.

Junior Cindy Wang spelled the trio whenever needed, allowing the foil squad to not miss a beat as Wang went 9-0.

Breakout While the women's epee and foil lineups were young, the coaching staff felt it knew what they could expect from them. The women's sabre squad was another story. Returning was senior Christina Verigan, who was her usual steady self, posting her second-straight 33-win season.

However, after Verigan, Micahnik was counting on junior June Hsu and sophomore Kate Zimmerly. Hsu had never fenced at sabre prior to 2003 and Zimmerly only had seven collegiate fencing wins on her resume.

All Hsu and Zimmerly did was combine for 49 wins. Hsu truly had a phenomenal season in her first-ever competition at sabre, recording 25 victories, while Zimmerly turned in a career-high 24 wins.

Sophomores Yael Miller and walk-on Ashley Zeigler capped off the Quakers sabre lineup, as the duo each won five bouts.

The men's and women's 2003 rosters voted on their selections for team captains at the Red and Blue's annual postseason banquet. Getting the nod to represent the Quakers in 2004 were juniors Stephen Gavalas and Emmanuelle Humblet.

In the House
"Dedication and consistent hard work made it possible for this year's teams to achieve what they did," Micahnik said. "I'm proud of the character displayed by our fencers. I'm especially proud of the rapid development of our youngest members and those who were willing to switch weapons because that's what the team needed.

"We'll miss our graduates, to be sure, but the core of next year's team is 'in the house. Next season promises to be outstanding."