PHILADELPHIA - The No. 10 Penn women's fencing team will travel to Columbus, Ohio on Sunday for the 3rd annual U.S. Collegiate Weapon Squad Championships. The Quakers followed up the overall team title two years ago with a 4th place finish last year. Ohio State takes over as host this season after the prior two competitions were held at NYU.
The Championships follow a different scoring system than in a typical NCAA bout. With teams divided amongst their individual weapon groups and seeded, two schools meet in an attempt to accumulate 45 points. The winning team moves on to the next round in a bracket format. Last season, Penn's saber squad was the best overall finisher for the Red and Blue, reaching the semifinals after wins over Johns Hopkins and North Carolina. Both foil and epee were knocked off in quarterfinals bouts. This time around, the Quakers will be up against a strong field including squads from Princeton, Northwestern, and, of course, the host Buckeyes.
The Penn foil squad has won 16 times in 19 chances this season, and will likely enjoy a high seed in its respective bracket. The four main members of the foil team have all won at least 25 bouts apiece, led by the 39-win seasons of both Sarah Parmacek and Wendy Zhao. Last season's NCAA runner-up Luona Wang has the best overall winning percentage on the team at 28-5 (.848).
The epee team brings a record of 13-6 into this weekend and has multiple options, with five members of the team fencing more than 20 times already this season. Amrit Bhinder sits at 29-9 on the year. Saber has compiled an 11-8 record in 2012-13. Tiffany Chan has had an impressive start in her freshman year, putting together a record of 29-15 to lead the team in wins.
Following this weekend, Penn will travel to Harvard for the rescheduled Ivy League Round-Robins on March 2-3. The Quakers will have six bouts over the course of two days, taking on three ranked teams in the process.