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Junior foil John Vaiani had a solid showing at the Penn State Invitational with eight wins and two losses for Penn men's fencing

Credit: Ananya Chandra

Two down, check.

On Sunday, Penn fencing recorded another strong showing in the second event of its January non-conference campaign. This weekend saw the Red and Blue travel to State College for the Penn State Invitational. Yet again, the Quakers continued to look seasoned as they prepare for the ever quickly approaching Ivy League Championships.

Both the men’s and women’s teams recorded three wins and suffered two losses, scoring wins against Duke, North Carolina, and Haverford. For the Red and Blue, it was the strength of their individual squads that told the story of the day. Four of the Quakers’ six weapon squad recorded four wins in their five bouts on Sunday.

The women’s team looked particularly sharp, with each weapon squad recording a 4-1 record at the Penn State Fencing Room. As has been the theme all year, the Red and Blue rookies bolstered their squads with impressive individual performances.

Freshman saber Victoria Zhang and freshman foil Danielle Ferdon recorded 11 and nine wins, respectively, each the most for their individual squads. Ferdon’s wins were supplemented by another freshman foil, Nicole Vaiani, who scored six wins for the women’s foil squad. Sophomore epee Katherine Sizov joined Zhang for the most wins across the three squads with 11 wins.

For the men, it was their foil squad that led the team, recording four wins. Their lone loss came against Ivy rival Columbia in a high-quality 5-4 bout that set the standard for the day’s play. 

Junior All-American John Vaiani led his squad with eight wins and only two losses. Streaking freshman Willie Upbin notched another six wins to continue a good stretch of form that saw him finish seventh in Junior Foil at last week’s January North American Cup. Sophomore Aaron Ahn was undefeated for the foil squad, bringing in four wins.

While the men’s sabre and foil squads both went 3-2, it was the strength of their individual performances that was the main takeaway from Sunday. Sophomore epee Justin Yoo recorded a team-high 11 wins. Penn State Open champion Raphael Van Hoffelen continued his strong sophomore season by recording a strong eight wins to lead men’s sabre.

After two weeks of strong individual and team performances by the Red and Blue, coach Andy Ma has slated two more events for his team ahead of the conference championship in February. Next week, Penn fencing returns home to host its second invitational of the season, the Philadelphia Invitational. With two straight weeks of competition in the books, the Quakers already look to be in prime form ahead of next month’s all-important Ivy League competition.

Two to go…