After weather disrupted the coveted Ivy League Round-Robins, the Penn men’s and women’s fencing teams are back in action.
Two weeks ago, Winter Storm Nemo caused the pinnacle of their season and — according to multiple members of the team — the most important meet, to be postponed.
This weekend, the teams will face their final test before the rescheduled Ivy tournament, which takes place on Mar. 2-3. The men (17-1) will fence Penn State and St. John’s at Temple in the Temple Invitational on Saturday before heading to Ohio State for the US Collegiate Squad Championships on Sunday. The women (15-4) will also compete in the US Collegiate Squad Championships.
“[It] should be fun,” freshman Ayyub Ibrahim said. “We lost to Penn State a couple weeks ago, so we’ll probably beat them this weekend … last time we lost to them, we were just being idiots.”
The Squad Championships feature several teams from around the NCAA. Traditionally, Ivy League teams do not fence each other before the Round-Robins. However, due to the delay, this precedent may be broken.
“It would be a cool opportunity,” sophomore Sarah Parmacek said. “But every match is different from another match. You can only learn so much.”
The Squad Championships, unlike every other tournament, feature competition between teams’ weapon squads — the members who fence with the same weapon — rather than between teams.
While the Penn squads intend to cheer each other on, the fact that they will not directly rely on each other might change the way fellow Quakers from different squads view one another during the tournament, Parmacek said.
“If it becomes a little competitive it [won’t] hurt,” she said.
Feelings are mixed about how the Ivy tournament delay will affect the team. On Wednesday, Coach
Andy Ma lamented the turn of events.
“We fully prepared for that weekend. It’s distracting. Kids have to cancel their classes, interviews.”
However, he also said that it gave the team time to recover from injuries, and could be “good or bad.”
Both Ibrahim and Parmacek were unconcerned.
“Ivies will always be the most important meet of the season,” Parmacek said. “Regardless of when the meet takes place, we kind of took the delay as whatever — as long as it happens, we’re ready to go.”
In terms of health, Ma stated that, given the heavy schedule, he is letting athletes figure out for themselves what is best.
“You take your own responsibility.”
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