Filipino fencer Samantha Catantan said the experience she gained in the US NCAA Fencing Championship will help her in two important tournaments this month.
First of these events is the 2021 World Juniors/Cadets Fencing Championship in Cairo, Egypt.
“I’m no longer competing in the cadet category, so I am expecting tougher competition (in the juniors),” Catantan told Manila Bulletin in a message exchange Monday.
Catantan, a freshman from Penn State University, is coming off an amazing run almost two weeks ago in the US NCAA when she went undefeated in pool play with a 20-0 record, which gave her the No. 1 spot in the semifinal.
She lost 15-14 in her semifinal bout against Penn State teammate Lodovica Bicego, a senior and former member of the Italy national team.
However, it only showed Catantan has the skills to go up against taller and older fencers from other countries.
“I hope that the experience I gained playing in the US NCAA would help my confidence in my performance here in the World championships,” said Catantan, the first homegrown Filipino to play for a US Division 1 school in the US NCAA.
“This year my goal is to have better results despite the uncertain things that happened last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The 19-year-old Catantan hopes to surpass her round ‘Sweet 16’ accomplishment during the 2019 world juniors/cadets edition women’s cadet foil in Poland.
Catantan will also join five other members of the national team in the April 26-27 Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) for this year’s Tokyo Olympics in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Also competing in the world juniors/cadets are Lance Tan (foil) of Sacred Heart University, Daena Talavera (foil) of Clayton High School (foil) Annika Santos (foil) of Forest Hills Central High School and Jian Miguel Bautista (epee) of Ateneo.
The tournament is for fencers 13 to 20 years old, which is divided into two categories, the 13-17 cadets group and the 18-20 juniors bracket for all three weapons – epee, sabre and foil.