Men’s and women’s fencing teams took on a draining NCAA Regional Tournament Saturday, but came out with 10 fencers headed to the NCAA Championships.
Those on the team who made it through the full four rounds fenced 24 bouts in the one-day tournament will be rewarded with one more tournament.
“The whole day is a grueling event,” assistant coach Randy Lemaster said. “You’re against the best in the region.”
The Quakers’ Regional included No. 2 Penn State, No. 4 Princeton and No. 8 Duke. Lemaster was happy to have 10 fencers move on, although he will not have enough competitors to give the Quakers a chance to win the overall team title.
Junior Evan Prochniak, perhaps the team’s best fencer, had the day’s most impressive result, winning men’s saber. Freshman Luona Wang placed third in women’s foil.
Among the men’s and women’s teams, the majority of the fencers who advanced to the finals were freshman and sophomores.
“This bodes well for having such a young team,” Lemaster said.
“With how young our team is, getting 10 is a good start for the next year,” Prochniak added.
“Everyone’s just improving … pretty soon, coach Ma’s gonna have an NCAA title.”
Both Lemaster and Prochniak, however, downplayed the importance of the NCAA tournament as a determinant of national and regional dominance.
“Personally, I feel competitions like the Squad Weapons Championships are a better representation of the whole team,” said Lemaster, referring to a Feb. 26 tournament in which the men’s team placed first.
“I think the NCAAs doesn’t show the best team,” Prochniak explained. “You only get to bring two people [per weapon].”
The success for the men’s fencing team the past two tournaments is somewhat of a consolation prize for its disappointing performance at the Ivy League Tournament.
The team, which was undefeated at the time, went 2-3, ending its chances at the Ivy title. Among the squad, winning the Ivies is considered the top goal.
“It was a good season,” Prochniak said. “We didn’t get the Ivy title that we wanted, but if we can come together as a team for the NCAA finals, I think everyone will be happy.”
The NCAA Championships will be held from Mar. 22-25 in Columbus, Ohio.
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