Even though there is no meet on Penn State's official schedule, some of the top fencers on the team will be competing this weekend anyway.
Eight Nittany Lions will travel to Milwaukee, Wis. to compete in the U.S. Olympic Trials.
Miles Chamley-Watson, David Willette, Jeremy Goldstein, Nobuo Bravo, Adrian Bak, Kaito Streets, Nicole Glon and Jessica O'Neill-Lyublinsky are the select few Lions that are competing.
Since these trials are for a spot on the U.S. National Team, only the Nittany Lions that are American citizens are eligible to compete.
Junior Adrian Bak said the Olympic Trials are a set of tournaments that ultimately decide who will represent the U.S. in this year's World Championships. The tournaments work on a point system, and the tournaments closer to the World Championships have a higher point value.
The competition this weekend will not be a do-or-die moment for these fencers as there will be future meets during this year that will help decide whether or not they have made the national team.
These Penn State fencers are no strangers to the Olympic Trials as most have been competing in them since they were in high school or even earlier.
"Since I've been going to these tournaments since I was little...I don't get that nervous anymore," said junior Nicole Glon, who competes in saber.
After the fencers make it past pool play and enter the bracket, their bouts are then decided by the first fencer to reach 15 touches.
This is a major difference from the meets they are used to on the collegiate level that only go to five touches to decide a winner.
Bak feels that with 15 touches in these bouts it allows for a little more room for error compared to collegiate meets.
"It gives you more leisure to figure out your opponent, so in that aspect it is a lot easier than collegiate meets," said Bak. "Then at the same time it can hurt you against someone, because maybe they can figure you out before you figure out them."
Ironically, these 15-touch bouts make it so that the fencers are less nervous when competing at trials than if they were at a regular collegiate meet.
"Some dual meets are harder than others and it's easy to get nervous because the bouts are shorter," said junior David Willette, who fences in foil. "It's easier to lose and have it go towards your record."
Since the bouts are longer at the Olympic Trials, the fencers naturally have to approach this competition with a different mindset.
"At [Olympic Trials] I feel as if the first round I don't have to be as warmed up," said Glon. "But at a collegiate meet every five-touch bout feels like a direct elimination."
Even though the fencers may express that the longer bouts at these meets make them less nervous, it does not mean that they do not take these competitions seriously.
Every fencer wants to make it to the national team so that they can compete in this year's World Championships.
Off that fact alone, the Olympic Trials have an atmosphere that can only be rivaled by the top collegiate competitions.
"It's really intense because a lot of us know each other," said Bak. "So it is definitely a lot more nerve racking in the way that you can literally draw anyone. So you have to prepare yourself mentally to be put in the worst possible scenario or best possible scenario."