As Penn men's and women's basketball continue Ivy League play against Brown and Yale, several other Penn Athletics teams will look to find success in competitions across the country. Here are a few key matchups that Penn will be involved in this weekend.
Men’s fencing vs. Harvard
Penn fencing will head to New Haven, Conn. to compete in the Ivy League Championships, which begin on Saturday. According to junior foil Raymond Chen, Harvard will be Penn’s toughest matchup for a number of reasons.
“They have an incredible lineup behind [senior] Eli Dershwitz and [sophomore foil] Geoffrey Tourette," Chen said. "Eli is currently the No. 1 sabre fencer in the world … and Geoffrey was the individual Ivy champion last year.”
Additionally, this weekend’s matchup will prove critical to Penn’s shot at winning at least a share of the Ivy title for the fourth consecutive year.
“The second reason Harvard will be our biggest matchup has to do with what happened at last year’s Ivies," Chen said. "We were the only team to beat Harvard last year in their entire season, and because of that we were able to get a piece of the title.”
In addition the Harvard-Penn matchup, this year’s Ivies are looking highly competitive, with Chen noting that every team this year has a chance of winning the title.
“It’s going to be really important that our team starts off strong and that we take the momentum and intensity from one match to the next," Chen said. "While this year’s Ivies look like [they'll] be really competitive, I think our team has what it takes to win for the fourth time in a row.”
If Penn can capitalize on these key bouts, the squad will be looking at yet another Ivy title.
Andrew Douglas vs. Velavan Senthilkumar
Penn men's squash will face both Cornell and Columbia this weekend, marking the last Ivy League matches before the upcoming College Squash Association championships. Currently, Penn occupies a three-way tie for the No. 2 ranking with Rochester and Trinity. No. 5 Columbia is ranked right behind, making Sunday’s match against the Lions particularly important for Penn. The weekend’s key matchup, however, will be between the players in Penn and Columbia’s No. 1 slots, sophomores Andrew Douglas and Velavan Senthilkumar.
Last season, Douglas was named first team All-American and first team All-Ivy with a 5-2 record in Ivy matches (14-6 overall) and was seeded in the top four at CSA Individuals. This season, Douglas currently holds an 4-1 Ivy record (9-3 overall).
Senthilkumar, who was named first team All-American and first team All-Ivy his freshman year as well, made it to the semifinals of CSA Individual Championships. Senthilkumar currently holds a 5-3 overall record this season.
With both athletes occupying the No. 1 spots, this match certainly carries a lot of weight for both the individuals and the teams at large. However, according to Douglas, the No. 1 matches are always fairly uncertain because of the high skill level of the players.
“I’m really looking forward to it," Douglas said. "He’s an incredible player and I am sure it’s going to be a high-quality match. It’s just going to come down to how well I perform on the day.”
Women’s track throwers vs. the field
After a string of weekends with numerous changes to the school record books, Penn men’s and women’s track will again take to the road in hopes of rewriting history. This weekend, the teams will be split between the Texas Tech Invitational in Lubbock, Texas and the Fastrack National Invite in Staten Island, N.Y.
While sprinters, jumpers, and throwers alike have all put together impressive showings in recent weeks, the throwers for Penn women’s track have established themselves as athletes to watch. In the weight throw, senior Rachel Lee Wilson and freshman Mayyi Mahama will aim to build on their recent dominant performances.
Wilson, who holds the program record in the weight throw with a distance of 20.04-meters, won the event last weekend at the Villanova Invitation in Staten Island, N.Y. Mahama, who herself is responsible for the fourth all-time throw in the Quakers’ history, finished as the runner-up to Wilson.
In the shot put, junior Maura Kimmel, sophomore Ashley Anumba, and freshman Nia Caldwell will look for similar results from the Villanova Invitational, when the trio took first, second, and third place, respectively. Kimmel’s event-winning toss measured out to 16.07m, which ranks second all-time for Penn women’s track.