Name: Courtney Dumas
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
What are you involved in on campus?
Division 1 Fencing team and Zeta Tau Alpha
How did you become involved in fencing?
My uncle took me to a competition that sparked my interest. From there I participated in a summer fencing camp and have been fencing ever since. (total of 7 years)
Currently there are around 23 girls over the three squads (there are three different weapons, I fence epee, and each weapon has its own squad. the weapons differ in target area.) There is a travel squad for each weapon. I am on the epee travel squad (the travel team that goes to every competition). There are 4 competitors on each travel squad. The team dynamic is great. Everyone is super supportive and always there to cheer each other on. It's like a second family.
What does being on the team involve?
Practices are Monday through Friday from 3:45-6:15pm and our NCAA season is in the winter. On top of collegiate events I also participate in national events for those under 20 and Division 1 national events. Collegiate meets are most weekends during the winter from January through the first two weekends in March. The meets are called dual meets. Colleges face off against each other using all three squads. (For example, epee of NU will fence epee of Notre Dame and foil of NU will fence Notre Dame foil and sabre NU will fence Notre Dames sabre). Each squad fences a total of 9 bouts or matches so the goal is to win the best of 27 bouts (the epee foil and sabre bouts are cumulative so 9+9+9=27 total bouts fenced over the three squads).
How did you get chosen to go to the Junior olympics?
In order to compete in Junior Olympics one must qualify. This involves going to a designated qualifier or as in my case, being ranked nationally automatically qualifies you for the event. It went very well. I finished 8th out of 151, losing to the eventual winner 14-13 in the final seconds of the bout.
Where were you this past weekend?
This past weekend I was in NYC for New York Squad Championships. This was a 45 touch relay divided by squads (foil, epee, and sabre were not cumulative). The epee team finished 2nd in the epee event and sabre and foil finished tied for third in their events. The Northwestern fencing team as a whole therefore won the 2nd place overall award due to the high finishes of all of our squads.
What are some things people should know about fencing?
Fencing is a very different sport. It doesn't attract much media attention even though I believe it is one of the coolest sports out there. Competitors travel all over the country and even internationally to compete against one another and keep the sport thriving. Many consider fencing to be an extremely exciting sport as well. It takes a lot of hard work, but it also is very rewarding. Currently NU is ranked 8th in the country and has a good chance to do some damage in the NCAA tournament this year.
Anything else we should know about you?
The next two weekends NU fencing heads of to Conference Championships in South Bend, Indiana and then Regionals at Cleveland State University to attempt to qualify for the NCAA tournament.