PHILADELPHIA - The #7 men's fencing team received great news on Tuesday, when they officially learned that they would qualify a full, six-member squad to travel to Columbus, Ohio for next week's NCAA Championships.
In sabre and foil, Evan Prochniak, Michael Mills, Vidur Kapur and Zane Grodman had already secured places at the national championships, but it was in epee where the Quakers were forced to wait to learn their fate.
Freshman Rene Gannon-O'Gara showed a massive improvement late in the season and was safely in with a fifth place finish in epee at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional. However, sophomore Clifford Fishler, the epee squad's most dependable performer all year, finished 11th and had to await a decision on whether his season would continue for one more week. With an at-large bid, Fishler will join his teammates and give Penn a shot at a national title, filling the complete allotment of two fencers in each weapon from one institution.
The Championships take place March 22-25 on the campus of Ohio State, with the men's fencing on the final two days of competition. Fencers will compete in a round-robin format of five-touch bouts. After the round-robin, the top-four fencers fence semifinal 15-touch bouts, with the winners fencing to determine first and second places, and the losers being awarded a tie for third place.
ESPN3.com will be broadcasting the semifinals and gold medal bouts live on Friday, March 23 and Sunday, March 25 at 1:45 p.m. The finals will be re-broadcast on ESPNU on March 31 at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. and April 1 at 2 p.m.