At the Western Open, the Mustangs' varsity fencing team faced tough competition but came out with exceptional results.
At their second home tournament of the season, the Western University welcomed groups from all across Ontario — seeing turnout from 27 different collegiate and competitive clubs.
With 200 fencers, this was the first year that the tournament required two days of play.
Needless to say, the competition was fierce and the Mustangs took on some of Ontario’s finest fencers.
Western had seven athletes that made it to quarter-finals, finishing in top eight, across all six events.
“To make top eight was a big thing,” said Mustangs head coach Carol Christie. “If you were top eight in a tournament, it meant you could take gold — that you could do it.”
For the women's, an all-Mustang finals
On the women’s side, four fencers finished within the top eight over the three events. In the women’s épée, third-year athlete Olga Nova and second-year Mustang Stephanie Ngo took fifth and sixth respectively.
Epée mainly differs from foil in that the entire body is a target. This inherently changes a fencer's strategy.
Ngo, who predominantly competes in the women’s foil event, tried her hand at épée. Despite immense differences of technique between the two events, Ngo demonstrated impressive calmness and versatility, landing herself a spot in the quarter-finals and taking sixth overall.
Another duo of impressive performances came from prized veterans Victoria Edwards and Kristin Dosen. After cruising through the semi-final round, the two Mustangs faced one another in the battle for gold.
Despite being neck and neck, Dosen fell to Edwards who bested her slightly in the women’s sabre event.
Nevertheless, in a tournament with so many competitors it is no small feat to have not one, but two athletes take the top spots.
Men's slash into top eight
On the men’s side, upper-year athlete Anthony Tran placed sixth in the men’s sabre event amidst an array of tough competitors.
Among the top-ranked Mustangs, John Huang tied for fifth place alongside fellow Mustang Rick Wu in the men’s épée. Both Huang and Wu have had very successful campaigns so far this season and they look to continue moving up in the national rankings.
“All of our league is open tournaments,” said Christie. “We are in there with the big guys, in the open circuit getting national points.”
The class rankings of the fencers are determined nationally, and in tournaments such as the Western Open, fencers gain national points that determine their national class ranking.
Currently, Wu, who won a silver medal at the Ontario University Athletics championships this past February, will be looking to improve upon his successes from last season.
The Mustangs are showing promise: they executed well and got to showcase their skills on home ground.
With this momentum, the team is looking forward to continue their competitive season after the winter break. On Jan. 11 the Mustangs will travel to Ottawa to compete in a team event at the Carleton University Open.