PHILADELPHIA Penn will host its only home fencing bouts of the year on Saturday when the Quakers host teams from Drew, Johns Hopkins, Sacred Heart and Stevens Tech. Fencing commences at 11 a.m. in Weightman Gym.
Let’s take a look at the 2007-08 Penn Quakers fencing team:
Men’s foil features three returning fencers, including senior captain and three-time All-American Ron Berkowsky. He has amassed a 128-13 record over his three seasons at Penn and would like nothing more than to lead Penn to its first Ivy League title since 2003. Joining Berkowsky on the foil squad is fellow senior Corey Purcell. He hopes to rebound to his 2005-06 form that saw him achieve second team All-Ivy status. Mario Ponticello won 11 matches in his first season at Penn and looks to improve upon that record this season. Three freshmen join the Red and Blue this season looking to make their mark on Penn fencing. Brett Cloak-Gentile, Alex Salsman and Dan Shiff all have competed at a high level for their high school and club teams and should have an immediate impact at Penn.
In sabre, Penn returns three fencers who saw action at the collegiate level last season. Combined, the three went 89-31 on the season. Andrew Bielen hopes to show that his freshmen season where he received honorable mention All-American status was just the beginning of his success. Matthew Kolasa won 40 matches on his way to first team All-Ivy honors in 2006-07. Junior Hal Emmer has two varsity seasons under his belt and provides valuable experience and leadership to the squad. The Quakers will benefit from the return of Jon Berkowsky from injury. Coach Micahnik hopes that the four-time national champion and two-time Junior Olympic champion’s success will translate to the collegiate level. Joining the Quakers for their first seasons will be freshmen Douglas Abelow, Benjamin Bell, Thomas Boutin and George Igoe.
Men’s epee will be led by juniors Samuel Monk and Ben Wieder. Monk won 49 matches last year while Wieder fenced his way to a second team All-Ivy selection. Benjamin Scholom returns for his second season and will be counted on to provide depth to a relatively young squad. Rounding out the epee team are two freshmen, Jeremiah Joseph and Jacob Wischnia.
The women’s fencing team hopes to use its strong 06-07 season as a springboard towards greater success in 2007-08. Eight women return from a squad that compiled a 17-4 record and sent four fencers to the NCAA Championships. In addition all three weapons medaled at the Intercollegiate Fencing Association (IFA) championships.
When talking about Penn women’s fencing, the conversation must begin with the foil team. Penn returns two members of the threesome that brought home the gold medal at the IFA Championships, the first in this weapon in Penn women’s history. Junior captain Ilana Sinkin and classmate Abby Emerson combined for a 100-29 record on the season. Both went on to compete at the NCAA Championships, where Emerson fenced her way to honorable mention All-American status. In addition, both women were named to All-Ivy teams. Emerson earned a first team selection while Sinkin received second team honors. Tamara Levy hopes to improve upon an impressive first season for the Red and Blue where she won 11 matches. Senior Zoya Abdikulova hopes to finish her Penn career with an Ivy League championship. Joining the Quakers this season on the foil team is Diana Ark.
In sabre, Penn also returns two-thirds of a team that medaled at IFAs. Alexis Baran and Cassandra Partyka hope to turn a 2007 silver into 2008 gold for the Quakers. Partyka’s 49 wins in 06-07 were 20 more than she had in her first season and led to a spot on the All-Ivy first team. Baran wasted no time making her presence felt on the fencing scene, winning 45 matches her freshman season on her way to second team All-Ivy status and a spot at the NCAA Championships. Joining the duo will be three freshmen, Danielle Kamis, Rachel Margolis and Gabrielle Nagler.
Women’s epee brought home a bronze medal at the IFAs and returns two members of that team as well. Kristen Hughes and Kathryn Anthony are the veterans on the team and will be counted on to lead a group that will include four freshmen. Liore Klein, Erica Nist-Lund, Jenna Stahl and Stephanie Wheeler all will compete for playing time in their first collegiate seasons.
With only one senior on this year’s team, the present and future look promising for women’s fencing. A grueling early season schedule will prepare the women as they enter Ivy League play and prepare for a postseason they hope includes multiple trips to the awards platform.