PHILADELPHIA - A total of 12 members from the men's fencing team will try their hand at advancing to the 2012 NCAA Fencing Championships this weekend when they fence in the Mid-Atlantic/South Regional hosted by Lafayette College. Thirteen teams will send representatives to Easton, Pa. for the event, which begins at 8 a.m. on Saturday and will be held all day at the Kirby Sports Center.
Besides the #7 Quakers, three other Top Ten teams will be at the event, a list of familiar faces in #2 Penn State, #4 Princeton and #8 Duke. A school can qualify a maximum of two fencers in each weapon to move on to the NCAA Championships. This year's Championships will be held March 22-25 in Columbus, Ohio.
The sabre team, whose 19-5 record matches the overall team record of 19-5 in 2012, will have five fencers among the top 20 seeds in the regional, led by 2011 First Team All-America selection Evan Prochniak. With a 40-9 individual mark this season, Prochniak has drawn the #2 seed while freshman Sean Turner, a Second Team All-Ivy member this season, is the other Quaker in the top ten, earning the #9 seed with a 30-14 record. Michael Mills has come on strong as the season has progressed and two weeks ago earned a national honor from CollegeFencing360.com. He will compete as the #11 seed. Steven Yang (15-10 on the year) and Elliot Tusk (17-7) round out the group and are #18 and #19, respectively.
Foil will send just three representatives to the regional, but each is capable of competing and making noise on the national level. Freshman Jason Chang has the most overall wins on the Penn squad with a record of 44-22 and will enter the weekend at #8. #9 Zane Grodman is right behind him at 43-23 and was a NCAA qualifier in 2009. And at #14, Vidur Kapur will try to make it a perfect 4-for-4 in qualifying for the NCAA Championships. The senior has been a Honorable Mention All-America in each of the past two seasons.
With three fencers who have won over 30 bouts this season, epee could well be in line to advance two onto the national stage. The Quakers are led by #4 Clifford Fishler, who qualified for the NCAA Championships last year as a freshman and brings a 39-16 record into this weekend. Following him is #8 Joseph Isaac, who has gone 31-19 this season after winning the U19 North American Cup gold medal this past off-season. Freshman Rene Gannon-O'Gara has competed in 64 bouts, the most on the epee squad and is the #13 seed. Rounding out the group is the lone upperclassman on the team, junior Steven Jow, who will compete as the #16 seed after a 17-13 regular season.