Some weather-induced changes proved no match for a composed Penn fencing squad.
After several cancellations from teams, additions of new ones, and scheduling changes, the Quakers hosted the Philadelphia Invitational this weekend and fenced on with no hesitation.
The Red and Blue ultimately saw competition this weekend from eight different teams, including Haverford, Duke, Brown, Sacred Heart, NYU, and Yale, which saw bouts for both men and women, as well as Ohio State and Temple, which competed on the women's side only. Both the men’s and women’s teams for Penn finished with a favorable record, as the men ended with five wins and two losses, while the women recorded five wins and three losses.
“I’m really proud of our team. I thought we rolled with the punches with the scheduling change. [It] didn’t matter who we fenced, we just gave it our all,” junior sabre Connor Mills said.
Saturday was more favorable for Penn, with both squads going 4-1 for the day. The only loss for both teams came to Duke. Women’s sabre and men’s epee stood out for the Quakers, as both were victorious in all bouts that day. Some of the highest performers for the women's team were junior foil Nicole Vaiani and junior sabre Sara Papp, as neither dropped a bout on the day. For the men, Mills, sophomore epee Sean Wilson, and freshman epee James Armstrong provided many key wins for their squads.
The men’s epee squad’s success is impressive considering the absence of skilled senior epee Justin Yoo, who is in California training for the 2020 Olympics full-time. Underclassmen like Wilson and Armstrong have been able to fill some of the void left by Yoo.
“I think we did really well. I think we were really gelling and finally introducing all the freshmen to the team, and we’re in striking distance to do well at Ivies," Mills said.
The Red and Blue finished up their last bouts on Sunday, with the men recording one win and one loss and the women finishing with one win and two losses. Senior foil Raymond Chen and freshman epee Emon Daroian had successful days, as both finished with a 2-0 record.
“This weekend we definitely fenced better than last weekend at Penn State. We have two more weeks to train, and then we go to Northwestern. That will be our last week before the Ivies, which should get us ready,” coach Andy Ma said.
Penn will head to Illinois next for the Northwestern Duals on Feb. 2, which will be the team's last battle before the Ivy League Championships beginning Feb. 9.