PHILADELPHIA - The No. 8 Penn men's fencing team has a hectic weekend ahead of it, competing in two different events on Saturday and Sunday.
The Quakers will trek across town for the second time this season on Saturday morning, taking part in the Temple Invitational at McGonigle Hall. Penn will only compete in two bouts, but both will provide stern tests for the team. At 10 a.m., the Red and Blue will meet No. 1 Penn State for the second time this season. The earlier meeting against the Nittany Lions resulted in a 20-7 loss, but Penn has reeled off 11 consecutive wins since that defeat on January 12. The competition will close at 11:30 a.m. with the Quakers taking on No. 5 St. John's.
Immediately following those two bouts, Penn will hit the road to Columbus, Ohio, where Ohio State is hosting the 3rd annual U.S. Collegiate Weapon Squad Championships on Sunday. The previous two iterations of this event were hosted by NYU and ended with Penn either winning or sharing the team title. The Quakers will be up against a strong field including squads from Princeton, Northwestern, and, of course, the host Buckeyes.
The Championships follow a different scoring system than in a typical NCAA bout. With teams divided amongst their individual weapon groups and seeded, two schools meet in an attempt to accumulate 45 points. The winning team moves on to the next round in a bracket format. Last season, Penn's saber squad was victorious after coming in as the No. 3 seed, while foil ended as runner-up to Notre Dame. The epee squad fell in the quarterfinal round. Those combined results lifted the Quakers to the overall team title.
The saber team can expect to be seeded highly at the event, as they have put together a 16-2 record on the season. Five different fencers in that weapon have at least 20 wins. Foil will also play a large role in Penn's potential success at the event, coming in at 15-3. Four freshmen have done well in their first go-round at the collegiate level. The epee team carries a 13-5 record into the weekend.
Following this weekend, Penn will travel to Harvard for the rescheduled Ivy League Round-Robins on March 2-3. The Quakers will have five bouts over the course of two days, taking on three ranked teams in the process.