Team sports are generally at the forefront of the athletic culture at Penn State: With a total of 79 national championships across all sports, many don’t realize fencing has pitched in the most titles.
With 13 national championships, Penn State fencing has been a certified powerhouse since its first title in 1990.
Though the Nittany Lions haven’t won an NCAA Championship since 2014, that doesn't mean they have been anything less than a perennial contender. This past season, Penn State finished its 2021 campaign as the runner-up behind Notre Dame.
The long-running success of the program can be accredited in part to its coaching staff. Head coach Wes Glon has led the Nittany Lions for 36 years, spearheading the program through all 13 of its national titles as both a head coach and an assistant under Emmanuil Kaidanov.
Along with Glon, assistant coach Alexei Sintchinov was a first-time recipient of the Men’s Team Assistant Coach of the year by the United States Fencing Coaches Association for the 2021 season.
Yet in fencing, it is through individual success that a team can be defined as great.
Five women were named to the All-American team for their efforts this season. Freshman Samantha Catantan won all 20 of her bouts, leading all foil fencers.
Teammate Lodovica Bicego also saw her own bit of success, winning 15 of her 20 bouts. Both she and Catantan made it to the foil semifinal, but they had to face each other in a bout that saw Bicego defeat Catantan 15-14 before coming up short in the final.
Ten total Penn State fencers made the All-American team.
On the men’s side, junior Ryan Griffiths, sophomore Jonathan Piskovatskov, sophomore Clement Perrier, senior Sebastiano Bicego and freshman Arwen Borowiak were given the honors.
For the women, senior Lodovica Bicego, senior Samantha Catantan, senior Kelli Wozniak, senior Zara Moss and freshman Kateryna Chorniy made the list.
The program even has international reach as alumnus Andrew Mackiewicz will represent the United States in the Tokyo Olympics.
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