PHILADELPHIA - The men's fencing team - ranked No. 8 in the nation in the first CollegeFencing360.com Fencing Coaches' Poll of the season - stays local this weekend, traveling to Temple for the Philadelphia Invitational. All bouts will take place inside Temple's Student Pavilion. It will be a full day of action for the Quakers, who get started at 8:30 a.m. and compete in six bouts on the day, including a rematch with No. 9 Duke after downing the Blue Devils two weeks ago at the Penn State Invitational.
Parity has been the name of the game for Penn in the early going this season. All three weapon groups have posted winning records, with foil leading the way at 7-1. Adam Elkassas holds a team high with 14 wins thus far, including a 3-0 mark in foil in the previous win over Duke. He is among a group of freshmen who are off to a fast start in their collegiate careers, joining Ira Schlosberg (12-4 in foil), Ayyub Ibrahim (11-5 in epee), Denes Marton (9-3 in foil) and Leland Bernstein (8-2 in foil).
That isn't to take anything away from the upperclassmen. As expected, the Quakers have gotten big performances from the veteran sabre squad. Steven Yang is second only to Elkassas with 13 wins on the season, while Sean Turner and Michael Mills have added 12 and 11, respectively. Clifford Fishler (12 wins in epee) and Jason Chang (nine wins in foil) are mainstays in the lineup as well.
Saturday's morning session will feature three opponents that Penn has already seen this year, with the three afternoon bouts taking place against new faces. The morning opens at 8:30 a.m. with the Quakers facing down Haverford. The Fords fell victim to the Red and Blue two weeks ago at the Penn State Invitational by a count of 22-5. At 10 a.m., Sacred Heart will look to even the score with Andy Ma's crew. In the season-opening Vassar Invitational, the Pioneers gave Penn its closest competition, coming up short in a 19-8 decision. The morning closes out against Duke at 11:30 a.m. The only ranked team that the Quakers will see on the day, the Blue Devils will seek revenge after falling, 15-12, at Penn State. Penn actually lost in two of the three weapon groups against Duke the first time around, but were saved by foil's 8-1 advantage to hold on for the win.
The afternoon will feature bouts at 1:30 p.m. against NJIT, against Drew at 3 p.m., and a potentially tricky matchup with Johns Hopkins to close out the day beginning at 4:30 p.m.
Check back into PennAthletics.com on Saturday night for full results of the day's events.