By Jennifer Hudson, GoPSUsports.com Student Athlete Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State women's fencing team participated in multiple events during the 50th Anniversary of Women in Sport earlier this month.
The weekend kicked off with a Friday reception at the Nittany Lion Inn, followed on Saturday by a breakfast at the All Sports Museum and a tailgate at Medlar Field before the UMass football game. Sunday concluded with a brunch and ceremony of the Women in Sports 50th Anniversary at the Bryce Jordan Center.
A few members on the current team volunteered for each event and were able to meet and talk to the alums of the team.
There were five decades of women's fencers that were represented at the events, the 1960s-2000s, so it was inspirational for everyone to learn about the fencing team then and now.
"Getting to know the alumni is always a great experience," said Clarisse Luminet, captain of the women's team. "Because of my position within the fencing team and my role as a captain, it was great to get feedback from their own experiences as leaders, and understand how that role has changed in 50 years."
Johanna Hall, a current assistant coach and Penn State fencing alumna (Class of '88), played a big role in organizing the event for everyone to enjoy.
"It allowed us to connect with former fencers as well as meet others on the team who paved the way for the program," said Hall. "Being recognized during the football game and being able to share that with hundreds of other women athletes from Penn State was very special."
Another alum, Beth Alphin, former head coach (1968-'85), was flattered she had the opportunity to speak at the Sunday brunch about coaching at Penn State "back then".
Like Alphin, the fencing alumni enjoyed themselves and even had the chance to meet up for a fencing dinner on Saturday evening.
"It was a true joy to see so many of the fencers and hear how their lives have progressed since Penn State," said Alphin. "I enjoyed watching them reconnect with each other. It should come as no surprise that upon meeting them it was as if no time had passed. We were family then and still today. I think my very favorite thing was watching the smiles and hearing the familiar laughs of people who were so much a part of my life for a few years."
The next time the current Penn State Fencing team will reconnect with the former fencers is April 18, 2015 in the annual alumni meet and team banquet.
Here are a list of accomplishments our Penn State women's fencing team has achieved over the years:
- 2 AIAW Team Championships
- 1 AIAW Individual Champion
- 1 NCAA Women's Team Championship
- 13 NCAA Men's and Women's Combined Team Championships
- 9 Individual NCAA Champions (14 titles)
- 54 All-Americans (121 times)
- 11 World Championships participants (to 26 championships)
- 12 World University Games participants (to 15 championships)
- 3 Olympians (to 5 Olympiads)
- 8 Pan Am Games participants (to 11 Games)
The Penn State Women's Fencing team would like to recognize all of the alums who participated this weekend. It was great to meet you all and we hope to see you visit again soon!
Alyson Van Alstyne
Jennifer Hudson is a senior on the women's fencing team.