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Penn State fencers take unique approach in practice ahead of World Cup

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Karen Chang (saber) on defensive

This weekend at the Senior Saber World Cup, two Penn State sabreurs will be representing their country along with their school.

Junior Karen Chang and freshman Zara Moss are traveling to Baltimore, Maryland to compete individually and with their home country. Moss will be wearing the red, white and blue while Chang will be fencing for Hong Kong.

The individual competition starts on Friday and in order to advance to fence on Saturday, Chang and Moss will have to do well in the first round. The team event will follow on Sunday.

Chang is happy the travel isn’t as bad, considering the World Cup is taking place in the United States.

“They all come to the U.S. so I don't have to travel somewhere else and adjust to the new time zone,” Chang said. “And I get to fence them so I am really excited about that.”

Moss touched on one drill in particular she and Chang were performing at practice in order to prepare.

“When you have the saber and the lights, it can be easy to get lucky with touches, so by getting rid of the sabers and just focusing on our footwork and our actions,” Moss said. “We are really making sure we are doing everything properly.”

The importance to be disciplined with each action could be the difference this week.

“If we can get someone to bite on an action when we don't even have a saber in our hand, imagine what it is going to be like when we do have a saber,” Moss said.

Chang said the purpose behind not using a weapon is to individualize each particular action.

Over the course of this weekend Moss wants to implement the changes she has made in practice in hopes that will transfer onto the strip.

“We always say practice is where you earn the medals and competition is where you pick them up. Going to competition, I like to see what I learn and what has sunk in,” Moss said. “My goal is to fence my best and to get rid of the mistakes that I have been making in practice.”

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