Last year, at the inaugural United States Collegiate Weapon Squad Championships, both the men’s and women’s fencing teams were champions.
This year, only the men repeated their success, securing the number one spot, while the women came in fourth out of the 18 competing teams.
The men entered the Championships coming off a 1-2 result at the Temple Invitational Saturday, where they beat No. 2 Penn State for the second time this year, but lost to No. 3 St. John’s and No. 4 Princeton. Penn’s first defeat of Penn State earlier this season knocked the Nittany Lions from their national first place standing.
The climax of the match came during the sabre competition when the men defeated Columbia, which was the event’s top seed. The men also managed a second place finish in the foil, propelling them to overall champions.
“The men fought a very tough silver medal bout against Notre Dame,” assistant coach Randall LeMaster said. “[Notre Dame is] probably [the] best foil squad in US; to finish second by two touches is really impressive.”
The women went into the championships ranked No. 10 nationally. Of the 18 teams, seven were ranked in the top 10.
The women’s foil team, which has been their strongest asset this season and led by freshman Luona Wang, placed fifth, losing to No. 3 St. John’s. The strongest match of the night for the women was the sabre as well, where they tied for third place after falling to Columbia.
“Women’s sabre was a bit of a surprise,” LeMaster said. “We transferred a senior foil captain over to add some depth and strength and experience to the team and now she’s on a medal winning team in an event she never competed in before.”
The Quakers will now prepare for the NCAA Regionals, which will take place on March 10.
“Over the next two weeks we’re going to be focusing on endurance,” LeMaster said. “The NCAA regionals is a really grinding, grueling day. If you have to advance rounds you could have 30 bouts in one day.”