Andy Ma is no stranger to success, but the Penn's men's and women's fencing coach, who has been awarded Ivy League Men's Fencing Coach of the Year three times, has hit another milestone in his storied career: 500 wins.
Heading into the Philadelphia Invitational on Jan. 21 with 499 wins to his name, it didn't take long for Ma to hit 500. By the time competition wrapped up at the end of the weekend, Ma was already at 511. Since then, an impressive outing by the women's squad at the Tri-State Shark Showcase boosted Ma's win count to an impressive 521.
During his career, Ma has coached numerous national and world champions, and even been recognized as Coach of the Year by the U.S. Olympic Committee. The 2022-23 season marks Ma's fourteenth year at the head of the Penn program.
Perhaps his biggest accomplishment at Penn was winning three consecutive Ivy League Championships from 2016-18. Furthermore, 11 Quaker fencers qualified for the NCAA Championship in 2017, a Penn program record.
Although Ma is happy with his recent milestone, winning remains on his mind. A decorated past doesn't kill Ma's ambition to add another Ivy League title to his long list of accolades.
The biggest setback for the team in the last couple of years has been the COVID-19 pandemic, which was a major disruption in many fencers' development.
“We have to make sure [we have] no injuries and stay healthy,” Ma said. “Also, our goal is to always win the Ivy League Championship — that’s our primary goal — and to try to get more people to qualify for the NCAA Championship.”
The bar is high for his team this season, as Ma led nine qualifiers to the championship last year. This time around, he aims even higher with hopes of having 10 or more fencers compete in Durham, N.C. come March.
“I hope to continue [the streak] and get to 600, 700, 800 wins," he said. "In order to win you have to put out passion, energy, culture, spirit, and effort together.”
Ma's next test will come at the Ivy League Championships held in Ithaca, N.Y. starting on Feb. 11.