In a meet that featured five top 10 nationally-ranked teams including the reigning national champions Ohio State, this Saturday looked more like the fencing NCAA Championships than just another dual meet for Penn State.
The Nittany Lions traveled to Queens, N.Y. knowing fully well that this meet would serve as a measuring stick to see where they sit among the nation’s top programs.
The men’s team proved once again that other schools should be afraid of them by finishing the day undefeated and handily beating No. 1 Ohio State, along with No. 3 Notre Dame and No. 6 Harvard.
“I think [this meet] says that we are fencing well and that we are heading towards the right direction,” sophomore David Gomez-Tanamachi said. “Even though this was only a meet they were still the people that we are going to be fencing with in NCAA’s so hopefully we’ll be able to keep it up and do well in that final competition.”
The men’s team’s (5-0) performance Saturday also keeps its undefeated season against NCAA competition this year still intact.
With the regular season more than halfway over the possibility of the team finishing the year undefeated is starting to look more and more like a reality.
“We have two more meets left,” said junior and men’s captain Adrian Bak. “If we could keep the same mentality and work ethic we’ve had so far through the year then no doubt in my mind we could finish undefeated.”
The women’s team may not have gone undefeated on Saturday, but it still had a solid performance, finishing with a 3-2 record on the day with its only losses coming against No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 4 Ohio State.
Junior Nicole Glon thought that women’s team showed a lot of toughness being able to fence strongly against these top schools.
The women were able to beat No. 3 Columbia by reversing their 15-12 home loss against the team just two weeks ago.
“I think that shows a lot of improvement and it shows that we are focused,” said Glon. “I know personally from the saber squad that we all fenced completely differently and we all had our heads on more straight for that meet.”
The men’s day was even more impressive when taking into account that two of their top foil fencers, Miles Chamley-Watson and David Willette, didn’t travel with the team this weekend due to their involvement in an international competition instead.
Even with this disadvantage, the men’s foil team was the only Penn State squad to finish the meet undefeated.
“Miles and David are definitely really strong but we still have a couple of other fencers that can also do really well at competitions and yesterday was a good proof of that,” Gomez-Tanamachi said.
Having now had experience fencing against some of the nation’s top teams and with just two more meets left in the regular season, the Penn State fencing team is starting to make a strong push toward winning its 13th national championship.
“I think every year is a new year and I think anybody can win it,” Bak said. “I think we have great chance because we’ve been proving it all year.”