Katarzyna Trzopek Claims Women¡¯s Epee Title at NAC Open
SAN DIEGO, Calif., January 20, 2003 ¨C Penn State fencing¡¯s superb freshman Katarzyna Trzopek (Warsaw, Poland) claimed the women¡¯s epee title at the latest North America Cup Open/Junior Tournament, which concluded today after four days of competition. The Nittany Lions sent five fencers to the event to compete to earn points toward a selection to the U.S. National Team.
In an interesting turn of events, Trzopek met former Lady Lion standout Stephanie Eim in the championship bout. Trzopek stepped up to the challenge and defeated the four-time All-American, who also claimed the silver medal in last year¡¯s NCAA Championships. The occurrence marked the second time this season that Trzopek has faced a fellow Lady Lion in a championship bout. In last fall¡¯s Garret Open, she fell to senior teammate Jessica Burke (Upper Marlboro, N.J.) in the gold medal duel. Burke also competed at this NAC Open, bowing out in the second round.
Sophomore Ian Schlaepfer (Rohnert Park, Calif.) and freshman Chris Miller (Salina, Kan.) also posted strong performances at the competition. In the junior tournament, Schlaepfer and Miller finished back-to-back in ninth and 10th place, respectively. In the open portion of the event, Miller came back with a top-24 finish to slightly outdo Schlaepfer, who finished right behind Miller with a top-32 performance.
Marten Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.), another phenomenal freshman for the Nittany Lions, saw results quite similar to those of teammates Schlaepfer and Miller. In the junior event, Zagunis advanced all the way to the final eight. He then went on to finish in the top 32 in the open draw, but his final standing would have likely been better had it not been for an unfortunate draw that pitted him against the tournament¡¯s No. 1 seed. Zagunis refused to go down without a fight, however, as he pushed the favorite to the limit in a tight 13-15 loss.
Penn State head coach Emmanuil Kaidanov was pleased with the difficult competition his fencers faced at the NAC Open. ¡°This was a very important experience that will help us for the rest of the season,¡± said Kaidanov. ¡°We are looking forward to starting the dual meets.¡±
Penn State will host an important dual meet this Saturday, as Duke, North Carolina, Penn, Stanford, and Hunter College are set to battle the Lions. The meet is scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. in the Mary Beaver White Building.