By WAYLON GALVEZ
US-based Filipino fencer Lance Tan of Sacred Heart University had a rough start in his much-awaited debut in the UC NCAA Fencing Championship at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pennsylvania.
The sophomore won only six in 15 foil matches in the opening round of the tournament, which was called off last year by the organizers due to the health crisis brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tan won against Christian Candescu of New Jersey Institute of Technology 5-4, Boston College’s Clayton Reid 5-2 and Bin Huang 5-2, Paul Diventi of Cleveland State 5-1, Griffin Peter of the U.S. Air Force Academy 5-3, and Sebastiano Bicego of Penn State University 5-1.
Though he lost his other matches, he was glad with the experience.
“I am glad for the experience so far. I had six wins,” Tan, who plays in the foil event, told Manila Bulletin-Tempo in a message exchange Friday.
“I have fenced 15 pool bouts before during the regular season… but nothing compares to 15 bouts with the best 24 NCAA fencers in the country, I was happy with the way I fenced many of my bouts.”
“Especially the wins against some opponents I lost to during the regular season. I wish I had converted more of my 4-4 situations into victories,” added the onetime Youth Olympic Games (YOG) participant.
The 20-year-old Tan will return Friday (Saturday, March 28 in the Philippines), for his final round of eight bouts, as each fencer needs to play the other participants in a field of 24 with the top four moving to the medal round.
Penn State rookie Samantha Catantan opens her campaign on Saturday (Sunday, March 28 in the Philippines).
Catantan, who plays in the women’s foil event, is the first ‘homegrown’ Filipino to earn a spot in a Division 1 school in the US NCAA. She is the reigning gold medalist in the Under-23 Asian Championship.
The 19-year-old Catantan is also participating together with five other members of the national team in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Asia next month for this year’s Tokyo Olympics.