This weekend was busy for Northwestern teams, as many are closing in on the end of their seasons. Women’s fencing saw a huge performance from senior Dina Bazarbayeva, who got a gold in her tournament. At the Big Ten Championships in men’s swimming and diving, a few NU records were set by some young up-and-comers. Women’s tennis continued to rack up the W's, and are on a hot streak. On the flip side, a few teams were starting their year. Despite having four games rained out, the softball team managed to pack in a quick run-ruled victory in between rainstorms.
Over the weekend, the women’s fencing team competed at the Midwest Fencing Conference (MFC) and took third overall. At the tournament in South Bend, Ind., senior Dina Bazarbayeva claimed an individual gold medal in epee. In the gold-medal match, Bazarbayeva came back from behind to win with a final score of 15-13. Bazarbayeva and freshman Mandeep Bhinder were both named first team All-MFC competitors. Next weekend, the Wildcats will head to do the NCAA Midwest regional tournament Mar. 8, before the NCAA Championships Mar. 20 and 21.
Though the swimming and diving team came in ninth at the Big Ten Championships last weekend, there was a bright spot from the meet. Sophomore Jordan Wilimovsky broke a Northwestern record – one that he already held. In the 1,650-yard freestyle race, he finished in 14:42.99, beating his previous record by more than 12 seconds. He came in second in the event. Freshman diver Andrew Cramer also set a Wildcat record this weekend, after scoring 403.95 in platform diving, which was the fourth highest overall score.
The softball team had a relatively uneventful weekend, as four of their five games were cancelled. In the one game that was played, they dominated UC Santa Barbara 10-1, despite a long rain delay. Sophomore pitcher Kristen Wood pitched all five innings (the game was called after five because of a mercy rule), giving up one run and striking out eight. Next weekend, the 'Cats have five more games in the USF Under Armour Showcase in Clearwater, Fla.
The baseball team continued to struggle this weekend, getting swept by Tennessee Tech in a three-game series. In the final game of the series, Northwestern came back from a four-run deficit, but it wasn't quite enough. Despite having 18 hits, the 'Cats couldn’t seal the deal. The starting pitchers only gave up a total of four earned runs, but the 'Cats were plagued by four errors, allowing Tennessee Tech to score eight runs.
No. 7 Illinois came to town Sunday to take on the No. 23 Wildcats to begin Big Ten play. Northwestern couldn't get it going against the Illini and fell 1-4. The only Wildcat point was earned by freshman Alp Horoz, who defeated his opponent 6-4, 6-4. Next up is a match at Purdue on March 7.
The women's tennis team was tested by No. 39 Purdue Saturday, but was able to hold on and defeat the Boilermakers 4-3. Senior Belinda Niu won the clinching match – a 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-3 grind-it-out thriller – for the No. 7 'Cats. Niu now has an 11-match win streak. On Mar. 8, the 'Cats will travel down to Champaign, Ill., to take on Illinois, their first unranked opponent since January. Their overall record is now 7-3, including a 2-0 conference record.