Make that two-thirds.
This past weekend, another Penn team took home a share of a three-way Ivy League title when men’s fencing finished first in the Championship tournament along with Columbia and Princeton.
While the women’s tournament also featured a three-way tie for the top spot, the Quakers missed out on Ancient Eight glory as they finished fourth behind the winning trio. Columbia, Harvard and Princeton walked away with the grand prize.
Both Red and Blue teams, however, had their fair share of highlights and accomplishments despite the disparity between the team results.
“I’m very happy for both the men and women,” coach Andy Ma said. “Both teams have earned a break tomorrow, but on Tuesday we will be ready to train for the regional and championship NCAAs.”
Women’s captain Alejandra Trumble, a junior, shined in the two-day affair as she was named the epee champion of the tournament. Her success was mirrored by her captain counterpart on the men’s team, when senior Shaul Gordon finished first in the sabre tournament.
“Our captains are number one: dedicated; and number two: have good character,” Ma added. “They always consider the team first. I have no doubt that they are hard working and very dependent.”
Freshman Justin Yoo and sophomores John Vaiani and Zsombor Garzo joined the two captains in winning first team All-Ivy honors for their performances over the weekend. Two Penn fencers also won second team All-Ivy honors in freshman Julian Merchant and junior Dana Kong.
On the men’s side, these individual performances were enough to propel the No. 3 Quakers to a 4-1 record in the tournament. Wins over Yale and Harvard made up for ties with No. 1 Columbia and No. 8 Princeton.
The women were not as lucky as a 3-3 record — which included wins against Brown, Cornell and Yale — could not cancel out losses to Harvard, Princeton and Columbia.
This was the men’s first title since 2009, but marks Columbia’s third consecutive Ancient Eight crown. The Ivy League Championships, however, is only the first stop in Penn’s long tournament stretch.
Over the next month and half, the Red and Blue will participate in four more tournaments and invitationals leading up to NCAA Championships in March. The Temple Invitational, United States Collegiate Squad Championships, Philadelphia Invitational and NCAA Regionals will all provide more tests for the Quakers in their quest for collegiate squash glory.
But if the past two days are any indication of how Penn will do come March 24, it’s clear that there is work to be done by both teams. The Ivy League Championships might not be the main event, but results in the Ancient Eight speak a lot to potential success down the road.
“The top four Ivy teams are all top eight in the country,” Ma said. “It’s one of the best leagues in the country.”
With this in mind, Ma has put out a clear set of goals for both teams based off their recent Ivy League and past NCAA performances.
“Last year the men got fourth place so if we work hard all the time, hopefully we can repeat our success from last year,” Ma said.
The women’s team is similarly ambitious, but the Quakers might have to reach a little higher to achieve those goals.
“The women’s team only had two qualifiers for the NCAA last year so we finished 18th or 19th,” Ma said. “So this year we hope to have all women qualify for NCAAs.”
“If we have all individuals accumulate points, I think we can get to the top ten or top five.“
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.