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Penn fencing traveled to Columbus, Ohio to compete in the NCAA Fencing Championships from Mar. 21-24.

Credit: Weining Ding

Penn fencing sent seven fencers to compete in the highly anticipated 2024 NCAA Fencing Championships, which began on Thursday, March 21. This prestigious event brought together top collegiate fencers nationwide to compete for individual and team honors.

In its last competition before the championships, Penn showcased its talent at the Mid-Atlantic/South NCAA Regional hosted at Drake University on March 9. The Quakers had a strong finish by securing eight top-10 finishes, with senior foil Blake Broszus, freshman sabre Gian Dhingra, senior foil Bryce Louie, and junior foil Katina Proestakis Ortiz emerging as standout performers, earning medals in their respective events.

The preparation for the championships was rigorous. "Practices were very, very intense," Louie said. "We focused on working through five touch-bout strategies and potential situations, like if the opponent is aggressive, for example, which was the best preparation."

The women's team, ranked No. 7 nationally, displayed exceptional aptitude, with Proestakis Ortiz leading the charge by securing the bronze in foil, closely followed by her teammate senior foil Sabrina Cho in fourth place. Freshman Grace Hu impressed by clinching sixth place in épée, while senior épée Shirley Guo rounded out the top-10 finishers for the women's team by securing ninth place.

Meanwhile, the No. 8 ranked men's team showcased its dominance, particularly in foil events, with Broszus clinching the gold and Louie securing the silver. Junior sabre Nicholas Molina added to the triumph with a commendable 10th-place finish in foil, while Dhingra contributed to the team's success with a silver medal in sabre.

With their outstanding performances, Broszus, Cho, Dhingra, Hu, Louie, Proestakis Ortiz, and freshman épée Joseph Wu secured their spots to represent the Red and Blue at the NCAA Championships in Columbus.

The Quakers continued to receive recognition for their stellar performances, earning a total of 16 spots in the All-Region honors, with the women's team claiming nine and the men's team claiming seven. Notably, Broszus, Cho, Dhingra, Louie, Proestakis Ortiz, and Wu led the charge, earning All-Region first team recognition in their respective events. Hu and Guo received second team honors for their remarkable achievements in épée.

In addition, eight Quakers received honorable mentions for their notable performances at the regional tournament, further highlighting the depth of talent within the program.

As the 2024 NCAA Fencing Championships unfolded, the University of Pennsylvania women's team concluded its season with distinction, securing a 12th-place finish overall. Cho and Hu earned All-America Honorable Mentions for their impressive top-12 finishes, with Cho garnering her second consecutive All-American honor.

Cho concluded her collegiate career on a high note, placing 11th in the foil portion of the championships. Proestakis Ortiz followed closely, securing 14th place with 11 wins. Hu also cemented her status as an emerging talent by finishing in the top 10 of épée and earning All-American status in her first ever postseason appearance.

In a historic moment for the Penn men's team, Louie made headlines by clinching the individual foil title, making him the first Penn fencer to achieve this feat since since 1997. Even if Louie had lost the final bout, that last statement would be true as Louie bested teammate Broszus in the final to become a champion. Louie's victory, along with commendable performances from Broszus and Wu, earned them All-America honors.

"Earning the award was a surreal experience," Louie said. "I grew up watching March Madness, so to be doing the fencing equivalent is unreal. Winning this title for the Quakers was a group effort, so this is definitely a team title." 

Penn fencing's outstanding achievements at the 2024 NCAA Championships underscored its commitment to excellence and solidified its position as one of the nation's premier fencing programs. With a talented roster and a tradition of success, Penn Fencing continues to inspire and elevate the sport to new heights.