If history is any indicator, Penn State should be excited to host the 2018 NCAA championships.
In 2009, the last time collegiate fencing’s biggest competition came to Happy Valley, the Nittany Lions delivered a record-breaking performance en route to the program’s 15th national title. Four of the six individual national champions in 2009 were Nittany Lions, and Penn State’s 195 team points have never been bested.
While coach Wes Glon said he was unsure of why the NCAA passed over Penn State as a venue for almost a decade — given the school’s facilities and fencing pedigree — he knows playing host has its upsides.
“It helps in many ways,” Glon said. “You don’t need many adjustments. We’re home; with our normal routine. They’ll have the comfort [of being at home].”
The 2017 championships were held in Indianapolis, about two hours south of eventual champions Notre Dame.
“This year, Notre Dame was basically the home team,” Glon said. “So many fans came from Notre Dame. They were so pumped up. For young kids, the emotions are very important. The walls help the hosts. I look forward to having the same energy on our turf.”
The tournament will take place in the Multi-Sport Facility on March 22-25, 2018 and will be the third time Penn State has held the event since the NCAA adopted its current fencing championship format in 1990. The NCAA recently announced Penn State will be the location again in 2021.
After a disappointing conclusion to Penn State’s 2017 campaign, Glon believes fencing on home soil can give his team the boost it needs.
“This year, we were ready, but we didn’t have the spirit,” Glon said. “We did OK, but not up to our expectations. But here, I’m pretty sure this would be a different story, and we will fight from the very beginning to the end. It’s pressure, but positive pressure. It’s positive pressure because everyone wants to be the center of attention.”