PHILADELPHIA - The Quakers will send five fencers to the 2011 NCAA Fencing Championships, which begin Thursday and run through Saturday in Columbus, Ohio on the campus of Ohio St. University.
Three of Penn's fencers will be making a return trip to NCAA's, while a pair of freshman give the Quakers five of a possible six fencers allowed in the championships. It is the most fencers for the men's team since 2007, when they sent six and finished seventh overall and sixth on the men's side. Senior Jacob Wischnia, junior Vidur Kapur and sophomore Evan Prochniak are all making a return appearance, while first-years Michael Mills and Clifford Fishler give depth to the Red and Blue
Prochniak was an honorable mention All-America selection in sabre last year and this year he has been even better, finishing second at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional and earning first-team All-Ivy honors for the second straight season. Also fencing in sabre, Mills will be looking to make a similar impact. In the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Mills was sixth overall and he finished just out of All-Ivy honors at the Ivy Championships.
Wischnia, the team's captain, placed sixth at Regionals in epee and was followed by Fishler in seventh to earn two of the 24 spots in epee. Wischnia finished just out of All-Ivy honors last month while Fishler was a
Kapur was Penn's lone foilist to qualify for the NCAA Championships and hopes to improve on last year's performance, when he finished ninth and an honorable mention All-America selection.
The Quakers are one of four Ivy League schools with at least nine fencers, men and women, traveling to the Championships. Princeton has the maximum of 12 fencers competing, while Harvard has nine and Columbia joins Penn with nine fencers. Penn State, the two-time defending national champions, will also send the maximum of 12.
At the championships, fencers will compete in a round-robin format of five-touch bouts. After the round-robin, the top-four fencers fence semifinal 15-touch bouts, with the winners fencing to determine first and second places, and the losers being awarded a tie for third place. Absolute ties for the seeding will be broken as follows: for positions one through three, by a coin toss; for position four, by a fence-off.