Few college students' experiences include a trip to the NCAA Championships, which is exactly what Penn fencers Evan Prochniak and Aida Abdikulova will be able to do after this weekend.
The fate of two Quakers will remain undetermined until later this week as the results of Saturday’s NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Fencing Regional tournament count for only part of the qualifying criteria for NCAA championships.
The men tied for second place and the women clinched third on Sunday at the Ivy Fencing Championship in Hutchinson Gymnasium.
The No. 10 women’s fencing team will have to settle for an outside shot at the Ivy crown after winning three of its four matches last weekend.
The Quakers traveled to Cornell to compete in the first part of the two-week Ivy League Championships, where they went 3-1. They will look to show their strengths on their homecourt at Hutchinson Gym next week, when round two of the Ivy Championship will take place.
Prochniak competed in the sabre division, battling a field of 157 competitors. His fifth-place finish secured him a spot on the 2010 U.S. Junior Fencing National Team, which will participate in the 2010 World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan.
While Penn won’t be sending any student athletes to Vancouver, freshman Evan Prochniak will be the sole representative for the Penn fencing program at this year’s Junior Olympics.
After both the men’s and women’s teams won all five of their matches last year at the Brandeis/MIT Eric Sollee Invitational, Penn fencing is hoping for a repeat performance.
The men’s fencing team hopes to replicate last year’s perfect season at the Philadelphia Invitational on Jan. 10, while the women’s team looks to build on last year’s 14-5 season as well.
At the two-day tournament — the largest individual collegiate meet in the nation — the Quakers faced 29 other opponents including host Temple, Penn State and Notre Dame.