Samantha Catantan finished her impressive debut in the NCAA Division I Fencing Championships with a third-place trophy and an All-American selection in women’s foil, Monday morning (Manila time) at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pennsylvania, USA.
The All-American is the highest honor a student-athlete can receive in the NCAA.
The freshman lost her semifinal bout against her senior Lodovica Bicego in a tight 14-15 encounter for the bronze. Catantan trailed in the earlier part of the match, but inched closer and led at 14-13.
The Italian, however, ended the match on a two-hit tear to dash the Filipino’s hopes of a debut NCAA gold.
The University of the East High School product earlier dominated the round of pools, sweeping the field and winning all of her 20 bouts, with some needing impressive comebacks.
The two Nittany Lion fencers faced each other in the pool rounds with Catantan taking the win, 5-3.
Bicego, however, lost the individual title as Notre Dame’s Stefani Deschner joined the other Fighting Irish in the winning circle. The American dominated the Italian, 15-9, to take the gold in women’s foil.
Just like in men’s side, Notre Dame also pocketed the women’s sabre plum with Kara Linder over Northwestern’s Sky Miller, 15-4. Laura Fekete of L.I.U. took the epee gold over Penn State’s own Kaylin Hsieh, 14-13.
The Fighting Irish ended up as the overall national champions with 201 points, fuelled by its four individual titles. Catantan and the rest of the hosts Nittany Lions finished with the second-place trophy with 182.
Catantan and fellow NCAA debutant Lance Tan will take part in the 2021 World Junior and Cadet Championships scheduled to start on April 3 in Cairo, Egypt.