While most of Penn's — and America's — attention went west to Arizona for the Super Bowl, Penn fencing headed north to Ithaca, N.Y. for the Ivy League Championships.
The men's team placed fourth in the Ivy League, going 1-3 on the weekend. The women went 4-2, finishing in third place, just ahead of the Harvard squad they defeated in their final bout. Additionally, eight Quakers were named to All-Ivy teams.
“[The men's team] was all supporting us, and [the women's team] was all supporting them when they fence," junior foilist Sabrina Cho said. "Having both the men and the women cheer each other on is so amazing and so much fun.”
Despite the third-place finish, the women's team had a rough start to the weekend, dropping two of its three matches on Saturday. The losses came against the eventual first and second place finishers: Princeton and Columbia.
But on Sunday, the Quakers turned their fate around, crushing Brown before dispatching Yale 15-12. With a spot in the top three on the line, they skillfully defeated Harvard 19-8 to secure the bronze. According to Cho, there was a lot of anticipation and excitement growing among the team heading into the last bout against the Crimson.
“I felt super high, super energetic, super excited," she said. "I think everyone else felt that same energy too, which was definitely the determining factor in allowing us to beat Harvard.”
Cho and her fellow foilists went 8-1 against the Crimson, which was crucial in the 19-8 victory. While the victory moved Penn into third, for Cho, the performance landed her in second place individually for foil and earned her a spot on the All-Ivy first team.
“I am so glad to be recognized as first-team All-Ivy," she said. "But I really did it for my team. I didn’t want to let them down.”
Sophomore sabreur Vivian Lu also earned herself a first-team honor, while senior epeeists Chloe Daniel and Jessica Liang, as well as sophomore foilist Katina Proestakis Ortiz were all named to the second team.
With its last two bouts against Harvard and Yale, the women's squad avenged its losses from last year’s tournament. In 2022, the Quakers finished just behind the Crimson and were forced to settle for fourth after dropping its final bout to the Bulldogs.
The men’s team similarly struggled on Saturday, losing both of its matches. On Sunday, the Quakers were able to pull out a close 14-13 victory over Yale to finish in fourth place. Yale, one of the few Ivy League teams Penn faced before the tournament, had defeated the Quakers two weeks prior. According to coach Andy Ma, defeating Yale was one of the men's team's top goals heading into the tournament.
Notably, freshman foilist Davide Lorenzoni shined for the Quakers. He finished the weekend tied for fourth in the conference, earning a second-team All-Ivy selection.
"Everyday, [Lorenzoni] represents spirit," Ma said. "He’s a very intense, very competitive fencer. Every single touch, every single second, he keeps his intensity."
Ma added that Lorenzoni’s performance is not surprising, but is just a preview of what’s to come. Ma lauded the freshman's team-first mentality, emphasizing his growing role on the team. Lorenzoni was joined on the second team by junior foilist Blake Broszus and sophomore epeeist Eliot Herbst.
With Ivy League play behind them, both Quaker teams will look towards the NCAA regionals in March.
“We had such a great finish at Ivies, both the men and the women," Cho said. "We are really excited to go into regionals with a good attitude and try to be the best versions of ourselves as fencers, individuals, teammates, athletes, and academics.”