With the Ivy League Championships coming up, it could have been very easy for Penn fencing to look ahead and not focus on the match at hand. But the men’s and the women’s teams would do no such thing, dominating the competition at the Northwestern Duals this weekend.
Going into the week ranked No. 6 in the country, the men’s team was looking to build on its previous success. Still, the competition was a fierce as ever, as the Quakers had to deal with No. 4 Notre Dame in its home gym, No. 9 Stanford, and No. 2 Ohio State.
Still, against such a strong slate, the Quakers managed to go 5-1 overall, with the lone loss coming to the Buckeyes.
Particularly strong performances came for the saber and epee teams. Juniors Zsombor Garzo and Jake Raynis backpacked the team with Garzo supplying 12 wins and Raynis adding nine of his own. On epee, youth shined for the Quakers, as freshmen Adam Green and Connor Mills came away with records of 10-2 and 8-4, respectively. Besides the fearsome freshmen twosome, senior Isaac Buchwald provided a solid 7-5 performance. On the day, both event squads had very solid 5-1 records.
The foil team finished with a slightly lesser performance with a 4-2 record. Senior and reigning second team All-Ivy selection Adam Elkassas turned in one of his best career performances. With his team needing a boost, Elkassas went on a 10-0 run against Wayne State, Notre Dame and UC San Diego. Freshman Willie Upbin help bolster the case with seven wins of his own.
The No. 6 lady fencers saw nearly parallel success to the men’s team with their own 5-1 record, but in different ways. For the women, it was the foil squad that boosted the team to victory. The women’s version of the fearsome freshmen twosome, Nicole Vaiani and Nicole Ferdon, led the foil team to a perfect 6-0 record. Vaiani went 10-2 while Ferdon went 9-3.
Vaiani was particularly impressive not just for her record but the way she did it, with dominant wins over foes from No. 4 Ohio State and No. 8 Northwestern. Already having an incredible freshman season, Vaiani continues to churn in incredible performances against top competition.
Even with the incredible foil performance, epee and saber should not be overlooked. Both squads turning in solid marks of 4-2 helped keep momentum rolling forward while foil was in the zone.
In epee, sophomore Katherine Sizov, senior Alejandra Trumble and junior Stephanie Wolf all finished north of 10 wins. At saber, sophomore Kathryn Khaw and freshman Victoria Zhang led the the team with six wins each.
Saturday marked major success for both the men’s and the women’s team. Still, the biggest test of the season is yet to come. Using these wins as momentum, and not excuses for complacency, will be vital as the season reaches its climax next week.
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