This weekend will mark the first time in more than two months that Penn State’s fencing team will be able to compete in front of a home crowd.
The Nittany Lions are set to have their first and only home dual meet of the season this Saturday at the White Building.
Both the men’s and women’s teams are used to having to travel all across the country to fence at different meets and tournaments, but all the fencers admit that the environment around home meets is unmatched.
“You have the support of the fans,” junior Adrian Bak said. “Family and alumni come and watch so it’s definitely a more intense meet because you just want to impress your family members and all the alumni.”
Senior Margherita Guzzi Vincenti said she feels that the fencers perform better when close friends and family watch them fence because they want to prove how good their team really is.
Along with having supporters at the meet, the fencers also enjoy the extra time they have since they don’t need to spend a day traveling.
The fencers use this free time to relax and participate in team related activities, such as a team dinner the day of the competition.
Fresh off of the Penn State’s winter break, the team had only one week to prepare for this dual meet, which is a circumstance coach Emmanuil Kaidanov said he wishes was different.
“We didn’t have much time,” Kaidanov said. “I wish we had at least one more week, but it’s always one day too short.”
Although the fencers are coming off two weeks without team practices, they’ve still been training.
Many of them trained with their respective clubs near their homes, and the few that could not do that still did various conditioning exercises like running and swimming.
“We’ve been fencing since last semester so we should be in shape,” Guzzi Vincenti said. “It’s not really a physical preparation, but most of the time it’s a mental preparation. As long as you have a week to focus on the competition that’s more than enough time for me.”
The Lions are slated to compete against fencing programs from Drew, Penn, Temple, Duke, North Carolina, Columbia and Haverford.
Out of these teams, Kaidanov and the fencers said they feel their toughest competition will be against the Penn fencers, but the Penn State fencers are confident about their chances to beat them.
“UPenn is the toughest team, but the other really tough team would be Penn State,” sophomore David Gomez-Tanamachi said. “So I think the team is pretty strong right now and I hope we can beat UPenn.”