PHILADELPHIA - After a month-long layoff, the Penn men's fencing team returns to the strips with a big test at the Penn State Invitational. The Quakers will compete in four bouts on Saturday, taking on Duke, North Carolina, Penn State and Haverford. Facing each of this weekend's opponents twice at different points last season, Penn racked up an 8-0 record against the group.
Penn began its 2012-13 season at Penn State, competing in the Garret Open. It was there that Michael Mills became the first Penn saber in the event's 41-year history to take home the individual title. Top finishers in the other weapon groups were freshmen Adam Elkassas (fifth in foil) and Ayyub Ibrahim (eighth in epee).
Following the Garret Open, the Red and Blue began team competition at the Vassar Invitational in December, winning convincingly by double-digits in all four bouts on the docket. That 4-0 start to the season included a 21-6 decision over North Carolina. The Quakers and Tar Heels are once again paired up this weekend, with the teams set for a 9:40 a.m. start.
Before Penn meets UNC, they'll do battle with another team from Tobacco Road. The day will start at 8:30 a.m. with a matchup against Duke. The Blue Devils are led by Dylan Nollner (15th last season at the NCAA Championships in epee) and Anthony Lin (19th in saber).
The final morning session is set to go off at 10:50 a.m., when Penn and Penn State renew their burgeoning rivalry. Adrian Bak (sixth in the nation last season in saber) will provide a stern test to Penn's duo of Mills and Evan Prochniak, while brothers Daniel and David Gomez-Tanamachi lead PSU's foil squad.
Penn's lone bout of the afternoon comes at 12:30 p.m., when they face Haverford.
Following the Penn State Invitational, the Quakers will have two weeks off from competition before they travel to Temple for the Philadelphia Invitational. That all-day event will begin at 8 a.m. on Jan. 26.