Columbus, Ohio - Luona Wang starred for the women's fencing team on Friday afternoon at the NCAA Championships, reaching the championship bout in foil to earn First Team All-America status after her eventual second place finish. Three of the four Quakers who qualified for the NCAA Championships earned All-America recognition and have put the Red and Blue into a tie for eighth place as the competition shifts over to the men's side for Saturday and Sunday.
With 12 wins in 14 bouts on Thursday, Wang knew headed into Friday's action that she was well-positioned to advance. As it turned out, the freshman needed every one of those victories as she ended the round-robin portion on Friday with 17 wins, just enough to advance as the #4 seed into the semifinals. There she faced Mona Shaito of Ohio State, who had triumphed in 21 of her 23 bouts coming in but had suffered one of her defeats to Wang by a score of 5-4 earlier on. With a berth into the championship bout at stake, Wang dominated Shaito by a score of 15-8 to advance to a level unseen from the women's fencing team since Jane Hall fenced for a title in 1986.
In the final, Wang faced off with junior Evgeniya Kirpicheva of St. John's, a two-time semifinalist. Though Wang attempted to comeback from a large early deficit, her need to press the issue in the final minutes ultimately led to some openings in her defense and Kirpicheva was able to take advantage, ultimately winning the national title in foil with a 15-8 victory.
Elsewhere, senior Dominika Franciszkowicz and junior Amrit Bhinder each garnered All-America Honorable Mention status. Franciskowicz won 12 bouts over two days to finish 10th overall in sabre, while Bhinder's 12 bout wins in epee put her at 12th overall.
Sarah Parmacek finished just outside the cut line to be declared an All-American, as her 11 wins put her at 13th in foil.
"It's a very proud moment to have three members of the team be named All-Americans," coach Andy Ma said after the conclusion of the competition on Friday. "Not only is it a great improvement from a year ago for the whole team, but for Luona to make it this far as a freshman shows the promise she has. With three years left for her here at Penn, we look forward to big things from her in the future."
Penn, tied with Northwestern at 52 points and just one behind Columbia for seventh place, will continue action tomorrow morning with the first four rounds of the men's competition beginning at 10 a.m.
Download: 2012 Fencing - Day 2.pdf