As the leaves begin to fall off the trees, fall sports start to come to an end. Here are major storylines to look out for as winter sports get ready to kick off.
Men's and women's swimming
Last season, Mark Andrew ended his career at Penn with an eighth-place overall finish in the NCAA 400-yard individual medley, en route to becoming a first team All-American. The real question for the men's team will be how they replace Andrew.
The answer might just be junior Sean Lee. Last season, Lee was Penn’s first-ever Ivy League Champion in the 400 free relay, and he is likely to continue to be successful in that event. Hopefully for the Red and Blue, Lee can make the jump and push his way towards the NCAAs this season.
On the women’s side, sophomore Catherine Buroker looks to continue the success she had in her rookie season. Last year, Buroker was an NCAA qualifier in the 500 free and the 1650 free, becoming the second-ever Penn women’s swimmer to compete at Nationals. She was also an Ivy League champion in both of those races.
Men's and women's squash
Junior Andrew Douglas and sophomore Aly Abou Eleinen starred for the men's team last season, and Douglas won a gold medal for Team USA at this summer's Pan American Games. These two will be key factors to the success of the Red and Blue this season. Both athletes will look to pick up right where they left off and help men's squash compete on the national level, as the team will look to maintain and improve on its No. 3 ranking.
The women will have to deal with the graduation of a generational talent in Reeham Sedky. Sedky finished her career for the Quakers virtually winning every match, losing only seven in her four years. However, senior captain Jessica Davis is poised to fill this huge gap after being named first team All-Ivy last season. Despite having big shoes to fill, Davis is the one to watch this year.
Coming off breakout rookie campaigns, sophomores Carmen Ferrante and Anthony Artalona were named captains for Penn wrestling this season. The two capped off last year with a trip to the NCAA Championships and will only look to improve upon their performance from last winter. The Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Championships in March will be a tournament to look forward to, as Artalona will look to repeat his run to the title from last year.
Artalona also came in second at last week's Michigan State Open, having moved up to the 157-pound weight class over the offseason. The two sophomores will try to lead by example as the team seeks to improve from its 5-9 finish last season.
Wrestling at 125 pounds, freshman Michael Colaiocco will also be one to watch after turning heads with his fourth place finish at Michigan State. He came away with a 4-2 record, winning two matches by technical fall and recording bonus points in three of his four victories.
Men's and women's fencing
On the men’s side, the Quakers will try to improve on a 10th place finish at the NCAA Championships a season ago. Junior Michael Li finished eighth at the NCAAs while being named a second team All-American. Additionally, he placed fifth at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Regional qualifier and finished the season with 31 wins.
On the women’s side, senior Nicole Vaiani was the team’s highest finisher after placing 14th at the NCAAs last season. As a senior this season, she has one more shot at winning a national championship, and she will look to lead her team to a higher finish.
Although both the men and women had winning records last year — 18-13 and 17-16, respectively, both teams will be aiming even higher this season.