Members of the men’s and women’s fencing teams have competed in tournaments like the North American Cup and the World Fencing Championships, facing off against some of the most talented fencers in the world.
But as the Quakers prepare for the upcoming MIT Eric Sollee Invitational on Sunday, will their play in these outside tournaments help them find success against college-level opponents?
According to freshman sabre Mike Mills, the experience definitely helps, though college play only features five touch bouts — compared to 15 — at nationals.
“A lot of the guys who fence in college tournaments also fence in nationals, so being able to compete on a high level always helps you,” Mills said.
The national fencing tournament, which is highlighted by individual play, puts a lot of emphasis on the self — different than team tournaments where one can rely on his or her teammates for support.
Junior captain Laura Paragano participated in individual national events as a freshman and found that “in terms of thinking strategically, it was very beneficial.”
“But we are a pretty strong women’s team in terms of strategy,” she added, “so what we need right now is cohesiveness, which is not necessarily benefited by individual play.”
Coach Andy Ma stressed that the real distinction was the format of each tournament — during national events, direct elimination begins after the first round robin. On the intercollegiate level, the play follows the round-robin format throughout the tournament.
While competition is similar, the preparation may change.
Paragano noted that in team play, it is just as important to pump up teammates as it is to focus on individual performances.
Despite all the differences and similarities between the two tournaments, the one thing that remains the same is striving for success.
The Quakers, who are competing against the likes of Harvard, Brown, NYU, MIT and Brandeis, hope to bout well in preparation for the Ivy League championships next week.
“This Sunday, hopefully we can pull the team together,” Ma said. “Sunday’s tournament will be good preparation for the Ivy championships.”
Freshman sabre Elliot Tusk, though, was a little more brash.
“We’re looking to recapture the title that we believe is rightfully ours, and we’re going to do just that come next weekend.”
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.