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Freshman épéeist Avery Townsend competes in a bout against Notre Dame at the Philadelphia Invitational on Jan. 22.

Credit: Samantha Turner

It was a historic weekend for Penn fencing who had its best showing at the NCAA Championships in nearly 20 years. 

The Quakers traveled to Durham, N.C. and placed sixth with 117 bout victories, the team's highest finish since 2004. Five Penn players were named to All-America teams, and, for all of them, it was their first times receiving this recognition.

Ahead of Penn, Notre Dame won its third straight national championship and were followed by Princeton, Columbia, Harvard and Ohio State.

On the men's side, freshman sabreist Simon Kushkov, freshman foilist Davide Lorenzoni, and sophomore epeeist Isaac Herbst were all named to the All-America second team. 

Kushkov finished the weekend in sixth with a record of 12-9. The 12 victories included defeating the eventual runner up from St. John’s, Fares Ferjani, 5-1. It’s been a strong first season for the freshman who was the only sabreist from Penn to qualify. Kushkov finished the regular season 55-35, including winning the Temple Open in October. 

Lorenzoni also finished sixth for foil. He recorded 14 wins and nine losses. The two teammates are part of a strong freshman class for the Quakers that extends to Jackson Gold, Luke Zhang and Avery Townsend.

Townsend also represented Penn in Durham for epee finishing in 17th. Herbst, the other epeeist to represent the Red and Blue, landed himself in seventh place with a record of 14-9. In pool play, Herbst defeated each of the three fencers that ended up placing in front of him.

On the women’s side sophomore sabreist Vivian Lu and junior foilist Sabrina Cho both recorded 15 wins and eight losses, placing sixth, and were named to the second team. 

Lu, who finished 15th at last year's championships, put together an impressive campaign this season with a career high 51 regular season wins. She was also named first team All-Ivy in February after placing second at the Ivy League Championships.

Cho, who was also named to the first team All-Ivy, had an equally impressive 47-13 record in the regular season. Cho was competitive on the strip against some of the top competitors. She defeated the eventual national champion, Harvard’s Lauren Scruggs.   

With all of this year’s All-Americans returning, coach Andy Ma and the rest of the Quaker team should be feeling good as they begin to prepare for next season.