Andy Ma enters his seventh season as the head coach of the Penn fencing program in 2015-16, looking to build upon back-to-back eighth place NCAA Championship finishes.
For the first time in Coach Ma’s tenure, both the men (20-9) and the women (21-9) surpassed 20 dual victories in 2014-15. The men’s season featured an undefeated showing at the Philadelphia Invitational, a first-place finish at the United States Collegiate Squad Championships (USCSC) and a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Fencing at the Dave Micahnik Center for the only time last season, the Quakers took down Haverford, Sacred Heart, No. 9 Duke, Johns Hopkins, NJIT and Lafayette en route to a 6-0 record at the hometown invite. In addition, the men registered noteworthy wins over ranked foes, Stanford, Penn State, Harvard and Princeton.
On the women’s side, the Quakers also put together a solid showing at their only home event of the season – recording victories over Sacred Heart, Duke, No. 9 Northwestern and North Carolina. The Penn women capped off the season by placing second at the USCSC and sending two fencers to the NCAA Championships (Sarah Parmacek and Alejandra Trumble).
Overall, Coach Ma led eight fencers to the NCAA Championships in 2015 and combined to place eighth for the second consecutive season. John Vaiani, Jake Raynis, Steven Yang and Zsombor Garzo all achieved All-America status, each finishing in the top-11 of their designated weapons. Vaiani earned first team recognition following a third-place finish in the men’s foil.
Both the men's and women's teams grew by leaps and bounds in 2011-12. On the men's side, a 16-0 start to the year left the Quakers as the last undefeated team in the nation. The team eventually finished at 19-5 and as champions of the U.S. Collegiate Weapon Squad Championships for the second year in a row. The women's team came in at 14-7 for the season and featured freshman Luona Wang, who advanced all the way to the national title bout in foil, ending her first year at Penn as the national runner-up in the weapon. All told, Ma helped direct 10 fencers to the national event and the Quakers ended the year in seventh place with six earning All-American honors.
Despite working with a roster which featured just three seniors competing regularly in 2010-11, both the men's and women's teams competed well, finishing with 18-4 and 14-8 records in dual meets. The teams performed well at the Ivy League championships, finishing third and fourth respectively. Ma also had nine fencers make the trip to the NCAA Championships and finish eighth overall. Four different fencers were honored as All-Americans, three underclassmen, led by first-team selection Evan Prochniak and second-team selection Amrit Bhinder. Prochniak was the first male since 2008 to be a first-team honoree while Bhinder was the first women since 2007 to be a second-team selection.
In his first season, Ma led the men's team to a 14-3 dual meet record while the women fenced to a 14-6 mark. Fencing with just one senior between the two squads, the women took third at the Ivy League Championships, while the men finished in a tie for second. Six different fencers, all underclassmen, were named All-Ivy and eight earned a trip to the NCAA Championships. At the NCAA Championships, sophomore Dominika Franciszkowicz achieved All-America status for the second straight season while three different men were named All-America, the most for the Quakers since 2000.
Ma's charges have also succeeded on the international level, as three fencers participated in the 2010 World Championships. Freshman Evan Prochniak had the most impressive performance of the three, earning a bronze medal with the United States in the team sabre competition.
Ma brings his own level of success to Penn after spending the last 15 years as President and Head Fencing Coach at the Fencing Academy of South Jersey in Cherry Hill. During Ma's tenure, the program has trained eight US National Fencing Team members, five in saber, three in foil, six national champions and one world champion. Seven of his South Jersey fencers have competed at the University of Pennsylvania, and 20 have gone on to Ivy League fencing programs.
Since 1997, Ma has also produced more than 200 medalists in United States Fencing Association (USFA) national and NAC competitions, World Cup competitions, and World Championships.
Internationally, Ma coached the United States Cadet Saber team from 2003 to 2008, and in both 2005 and 2008 he was selected Coach of the Year by the U.S. Olympic Committee. President of the USFA's South Jersey Division, he is a certified USFA fencing director and earned the highest competitive rating of "A" by the USFA in Saber in 1992.
In addition to his work at the Fencing Academy, Ma served two stints as Micahnik's assistant coach at Penn, the first from 1994-96, and the second from 2005-06.
During his first stint, Penn won the Ivy League Women's Team Championship twice, in 1994 and 1995, as he trained a first-team men's saber All-America and a second-team men's foil All-America.
Ma was also an assistant coach at Ohio State University from 1989-91, helping the Buckeyes win the Men's and Women's Big Ten titles in 1990-91, and from 1985-88 he was fencing coach at the Beijing (China) Sports University where he helped develop China's junior national saber champion who later competed at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain.
As a competitor, Ma was a two-time National Saber champion of the Chinese Fencing Association (1985, 1988) and a two-time Chinese Intercollegiate Saber champion (1983, 1985). He also won Ohio's saber title during his stint at OSU.
Ma holds B.A. degrees in Fencing and Physical Education from the Beijing (China) Sports University, as well as an Educational Psychology degree from the Beijing (China) Teachers University. He also has a master's in Sports Psychology from Ohio State.