FILIPINO fencing pride Samantha Catantan delivered a sensational performance as she defended her Garrett Open title with a masterful 15-9 victory over Penn State University teammate Arianna Proietti in the finals of women's foil division on Saturday in Pennsylvania.
Catantan, the first “homegrown” Filipino fencer to earn an athletic scholarship in the US and play in the NCAA, ruled a tough competition that had three rounds of pooling action.
After three rounds of pooling, only the top 16 made it to the Direct Eliminations.
“It was really tough because we had to play three rounds of pooling. In the first two rounds I played seven bouts, and in the third round, I played six bouts,” said the 20-year-old Catantan.
In the knockout stage, the third-ranked player Catantan defeated Annie Lin of Yale University 15-8 in the round-of-16, Renee Oymann of Temple University 15-7 in the quarterfinals, and Emme Zhou of Yale University 15-13 in the semifinals.
It was Catantan's third podium finish in three weeks following her third-fourth place campaign that gave her a bronze medal in the 2022 Temple Open, and gold medal in the PSU exhibition.
All these tournaments are part of the Nittany Lion preparation for the 2023 US NCAA Fencing Championships in Duke, North Carolina in March. The tournament will actually begin with regional meets starting next month.
Catantan, a former standout fencer at University of the East high school squad and a student of then national team mentor Amat Canlas of Canlas Fencing, said that the tournaments are crucial for them going to the regionals.
“I'd say it's a good sign to start the season. I was able to figure out things I need to improve and focus on,” said Catantan, now a third year Accounting student at Penn State.
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