While Randall LeMaster, the Director of Fencing Operations for Penn, was walking the team's emotional support puppy through Hutchinson Gymnasium, the team and coaching staff were outside playing a jovial game of soccer.
Penn fencing coach Andy Ma has won his third consecutive Ivy League Coach of the Year award, this year winning the men’s and women’s Co-Coach of the Year. The previous two seasons, he was named Coach of the Year for the men’s side.
On Sunday, Penn’s men fencing secured a share of a third consecutive title at the 2018 Ivy League Championships. Penn shares its 17th overall title with Harvard and Columbia, after the three teams recorded identical 4-1 records against the rest of the league.
The women's squad held its own against a solid lineup of teams. The Quakers finished the weekend with a record of 3-2, with the two losses against No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 5 Ohio State. On the men's side, the Quakers didn’t fare as well, finishing the weekend 2-3, with losing bouts coming to the hands of the No. 1 Notre Dame, No. 2 Ohio State, and No. 10 Stanford.
This year, the goal of two Ivy Championships is very much in reach. With only a week and a half until championship weekend, both the men and the women fencers are confident they can pull off the double.
It has been five years since 2014 graduate Michael Mills won the men’s sabre competition at the NCAA Fencing Championships. And, five years later, the next chance to carry out Mills’ legacy may be his own cousin.
Three-for-one deals are never bad. That is what fencing fans get whenever they watch a match. Though a first time watcher or casual fan may have trouble noticing the differences, fencing’s three forms — sabre, epee, and foil — are all very nuanced.
Coach Slava Danilov, assistant coach for the men’s and women’s fencing teams, provides a unique spark to the program. Danilov, now in his fourth year with the Quakers, is part of an excellent staff that includes head coach Andy Ma and other assistants Adi Nott and Randall LeMaster. Men’s senior epee and captain Zsombor Garzo described Danilov in one phrase. “Extremely competitive.”
Several of the NCAA’s best men’s and women’s fencing teams met at the Penn’s Tse Center for the Philadelphia Invitational. Both of Penn’s teams had a successful couple of days, each notching several victories over elite opponents.
Penn fencing had an up and down weekend against some of the top fencing programs in the country.
The Quakers (11-4 for both men and women) had a busy weekend in State College, Pa. The men and women defeated North Carolina and Haverford but fell short to Columbia, Penn State, and Duke.
If the Quakers have all of their best athletes on the floor, we think the Red and Blue men will drive home as tournament champions. As for the women, closing the gap with Columbia might be a tall task, not to mention that the women have a harder field because Temple does not have a men’s team. But still, we expect the Quakers to improve on last year’s effort with a second-place finish here.
The wire-to-wire domination that Penn women’s basketball displayed en route to its third conference title in four years was impressive, but that wasn’t the only Penn team to bring home Ivy League glory in 2017. A pair of Penn programs continued the elite play they’ve shown in recent years, as both Penn men’s fencing and Penn women’s lacrosse took home shares of the Ivy League title.
Some members of the Red and Blue don the colors of their home country in the summer months. Sara Papp of Hungary, Nicole Wong of Singapore, and Michael Li of the United States are just a few of the Quakers who have had the honor of representing their national team.
The Pittsford, NY native has previously served on the U.S. Junior National Team, and the Junior World Championship Team (2006). In 2011, she made the US Women’s Foil team. ESPN Magazine listed Nott among their recognized CoSIDA Academic All-American athletes in her junior year at Notre Dame.