Catantan prepares for a busy fencing schedule

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Filipino fencer Samantha Catantan will have a busy schedule towards the end of the year until early next year as Penn State University is expected to compete in various tournaments as part of the preparation for the fencing championship NCAA 2023 in Durham, North Carolina.

Samantha Catantan of Penn State University. PENN STATE PHOTO

Catantan, the reigning Southeast Asian Games (SEA) gold medalist in women’s individual foil, is in her third year with the Nittany Lion – the first fencing “house” to play for a school of US NCAA Division 1.

“Marami kaming contest, tuluy-tuloy yung mga laban,” Catantan told the Manila Times.

Catantan, the first Filipino to win the gold medal at the Asian U-23 Fencing Championship in 2019 in Thailand, recently competed at the North America Cup (NAC) in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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In that tournament, Catantan finished with a 5-1 record in their pool.

As the 24th ranked fencer, Catantan knocked out Lavender Lee of the United States 15-8 in the round of 16, Gracie Cho of the United States 15-6 in the round of 16, but lost to No. 9 Crystal Qian of the States United 15-10. in the round of 16.

Catantan eventually finished 21st overall out of 160 fencers in the tournament, where Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Fil-Am Lee Kiefer won said event in women’s individual foil.

Last week, Catantan won gold at the Nittany Lion Cup – an exhibition event for fencers at Penn State.

This coming week, Penn State U will play in the Temple Open on October 29-30, followed by the Garret Penn State Open on November 5-6, then the start of regionals for the NCAA as Nittany Lion plsy Sacred Heart, NYU, Harvard, Princeton, Vassar and NJIT on December 4.

Catantan, 20, made her mark in her rookie season at Penn State after winning the bronze trophy.

She finished with a perfect 20-0 record in the group stage and only lost to Italian teammate Lodovica Bicego in the semi-finals.

After placing ninth overall in her second season in the NCAA Fencing Tournament, Catantan is committed to improving on that ranking as she hopes to finish better next year.

“I think with the experience I’ve had for the past two years… Now, as a junior, I’m the oldest in the women’s foil team. In my first year, the team ako yung pink-bata sa. So now, yun, beterano na,” the third-year accounting student said.

“The pressure is still there, but I think I’m better prepared now with the help of my teammates and my coaches,” added Catantan, the former fencing mainstay at the University of the University. East.

A fencing student of former national team mentor Amat Canlas and Christian Canlas of Canlas Fencing Club in Quezon City, Catantan is eligible to play five seasons, up from four, as the U.S. NCAA ruled that athletes /students who started in 2020 can play until 2025.

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