Head Coach Dave Micahnik looks for his men’s team to be as strong as ever. Despite losing captain and three-time regional finalist Steve Gavallas to graduation, he expects this year’s team to continue the excellent tradition of Penn fencing.
The foil has a strong top three of All-Americasjunior Michael Galligan and sophomores Ron Berkowsky and Corey Purcell. Galligan, the junior captain, is an effective competitor who Micahnik says is mentally agressive. He finished the season with a 19-8 record and a ninth-place finish at the NCAA Championships, which earned him honorable mention All-America. Berkowsky is coming off a 40-9 season record in 2004-05. The sophomore also took the bronze medal at the NCAA Championships and earned All-America honors. Micahnik calls him, “a cool competitior whose technique is superb.” Purcell was a part-time contributor last year, alternating between the three and four spot. Coach Micahnik believes he is a superior athlete who needs to get comfortable in the number three spot. Freshman Vincent Lee will also contribute.Lee is a quality fencer who can win bouts at the varsity level and will challenge for starting time right away.
The sabre possesses what the foil does not, depth. Penn returns everyone from a season ago and also welcomes three freshmen. Returning are juniors Emil Cappetta, Dave Dipaola, Mike Haass, and sophomore Zachary Yeates. Newcomers Anders Eiremo, Hal Emmer and Matthew Kolasa will look to add depth and strength. Eiremo and Kolasa are international competitors who Micahnik says will have an immediate impact. They will challenge for starting positions along with Yeates, who was a top performer at the start of last season and finished fifth at the IFA’s.
Cappetta, DiPaola and Haass all finished in the top 25 at the Temple Open. With the amount of depth at this weapon, Micahnik will maximize the top-end performance and build depth around the rest of the team.
Micahnik expects the epee to be deeper this year. Sophomores Noah Rohrer and Alex Tozzo gained valuable experience as freshmen. Rohrer placed seventh at the IFA’s, which was best among the Quaker epees. Tozzo was a perfect 3-0 in Penn’s victory over Rutgers on Jan. 30.
Freshmen Sam Monk and Ben Wieder will compete for varsity positions at the epee. Micahnik calls them exact oppositesMonk is tall and combative, while Wieder is smaller but fast as a bullet.
Micahnik expects his men to be better than last year. With the experience he has returning, he has all the more reason to be optimistic for this year and the next few years.
“Being young last year will pay off,” said Micahnik.
With a core made up of sophomores Berkowsky, Purcell, Roher and Tozzo and with captain Mike Galligan, this season is sure to be another successful one in the storied history of Penn fencing.