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VIDEO: 2014-15 Season Highlights

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State's 2014-15 season was one marked by excellence on the field, in the classroom and in the community. GoPSUsports.com takes a look back at the campaign in a season highlight reel.


New Staff Helping Fencers Train

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By Jennifer Hudson, GoPSUsports.com Student Athlete Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Two new staff members have joined the Penn State fencing team this season to help the program move forward in its quest for another national championship. Alexei Sintchinov and Heather Nelson are eager to help lead the team as assistant and volunteer coaches, respectively, beginning this season.

Sintchinov joins the Nittany Lions as an assistant coach after being a coach at Ohio State for the past three years.

He has been a professional coach since 1976 and is a Master of Sport in Fencing. Sintchinov started his coaching career internationally and was the head coach of the Belarus, Egypt and Tunisia national teams. He was named Honored Coach of Belarus in 1991 and head coach of the 2000 Egypt Olympic Team.

He is excited to continue his coaching career with such a decorated program here at Penn State and to help the team compete for championships.

"I would like to help the team make a good result at the NCAA championship," said Sintchinov. " I want to improve all students in epee and everyone on the team. I am happy to help anyone who wants to learn. My heart is open to all weapons."

With the past 40 years overseeing different fencers, the newest Nittany Lion knows how to fix problems and improve athletes to their best ability.

He was even a part of the coaching staff who helped guide the Buckeyes to the 2012 NCAA Championship title.

"All fencers have a strong part and weak part," said Sintchinov, "I will help shrink the weaknesses and increase the strengths. Everyone has a different problem that they need to work with. It is very important to work on strengths and weaknesses."

One thing Coach Alexei has added to the championship teams work out is a stepladder to improve their footwork. He believes in fast and strong legs for every great fencer needs.

Team members who have been working with Sintchinov in lessons are excited to have him and love what he is bringing to the program.

"He is a strong addition to our family," said Jessica O'Neill Lyublinsky, a junior epee fencer. "He really puts his heart into his work and I can already see he really wants to repeat our NCAA title as much as we do, if not more."

Nelson, a former fencer who is a grad student at Penn State, comes back to the team as a volunteer assistant coach for the semester. She is helping improve everyone's strength with many conditioning drills she learned from the Air Force Academy.

Nelson, a Second Lieutenant, attended the USAF for her undergraduate work,, majoring in aerospace engineering. She was on the fencing team at the Academy for three years allowing her to fence her last year of eligibility with the Nittany Lions when she came for graduate school last fall.

"Heather's work outs are challenging," said Brianne Cavaliere, a junior saber fencer. "They force you to not only push yourself, but your teammates so we can be the best we can."

Nelson helps the team's workouts, which consist of many strength and conditioning skills that are challenging for the Nittany Lions. The drills are done in organized lines as if you were in the military. The team does reps of different strength exercises while counting out loud as one team. Everyone must stay in time or the team will start over.

"Military style training is working as a team," said Nelson. "If one can't compete the repetition, the team starts over."

Nelson helps the team do different strength stations in groups with time limits pushing each fencer to do multiple strength activities as fast as they can in groups. If a group fails to complete a station, the team will do a great deal of push ups to make up the difference.

"The drills as a team is the same as fencing as a team," said Nelson. "You send 12 to NCAAs who are your best fencers but if one falls, it can lose you the championship. The exercises show that the team is only as strong as the weakest person you send."

From all the drills, Nelson hopes to help the team gain more endurance to help them get through the long tiring days at regionals and NCAAs to bring home another championship.

Doing her workouts twice a week, the team is very happy with how their strength and conditioning is improving this year.

"I love it here at Penn State," said Nelson. "I'm glad I'm back but I wish I could stay the whole season."

Nelson unfortunately is only here for one semester because she is graduating in December. She is off to Colorado Springs to work in an Air Force satellite lab after graduation. The Nittany Lions will be sad to see her go, but her assistance with conditioning will hopefully contribute to another successful season. 

Showing Fencing to Penn State students

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FullSizeRender.jpgBy Jennifer Hudson, GoPSUsports.com Student Athlete Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Not many people know about the sport of fencing, so some of the Penn State national championship team members put on a demonstration in professor Ron Johnson's business administration class on Tuesday to show how the sport works and promote the team.

Johnson usually shows a video before his classes but this week decided to change it up and give the students an opportunity to learn about fencing.

To start off the demonstration, Kacy Charpin, a freshmen saber fencer, explained what fencing is like and how it works. This allowed the class to learn the basics of what they would see in a fencing meet.

David Gomez-Tanamachi, a senior who represented Mexico in the World Championships in Russia over the summer, and Nicolas Graziano, a sophomore who represented Canada in the Canadian Nationals this summer, fenced a foil bout for everyone to see.

They showed all different actions which kept the audience intrigued.

"I thought it was great!" said Kindrah Kohne, a senior marketing and spanish major. "I've attended a fencing competition before and didn't know much about it, but today I learned a lot and can hopefully use what I learned today in the future when I attend an event."

Next up was an epee demonstration by Jessica O'Neill-Lyublinsky and Jessie Radanovich.

Both O'Neill-Lyublinsky and Radanovich represented Penn State in NCAA Championships in March, helping win the national title.

While a foil bout is a little faster pace and the fencers could only hit the torso area where their lames were, an epee bout allows for a touch anywhere on the body.

O'Neill-Lyublinksky and Radanovich fenced a strategical bout that showed how strong they were.

"I think it went really well," said Gomez. "Hopefully we will get to see a lot of the students supporting us at our upcoming home competition now that they have seen the demonstration."

Due to time constrictions, the team was not able to show what a saber bout, the third weapon, looked like but will get to in the future.

Johnson has allowed the fencing team to come into the start of two more of his classes this week.

In the beginning of MGMT 301 on Wednesday at 9:55 in 105 Forum and at the beginning of BA 342 at 2:15 in 100 Thomas, some members of the fencing team will show off the sport some more.

If you are interested in how fencing works or curious to see what a fencing bout looks like, spot by and check it out!

The next home meet for the team will be the Garret Open held in White Building on November 22-23 starting at 8 a.m.

Fencers Celebrate 50th Anniversary of Women In Sport

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fn_blog_1.jpgBy 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!

 

Beth Alphin

Jana Angelakis

Margot Summers

Raquel Berg

Alyson Van Alstyne

Nicole Glon

Adrienne Eiss

Eleanor Reigel

Sandra Jablonski

Mary McGuire

Pamela Resetar

Sue Lympany

Hope Meyer

Johanna Hall

Jenni Blat

Sarah Kuzio

Nancy Sell

Hanne Skattebol

Cynthia Lyons

Jane Nagel

Kate Wulf



Jennifer Hudson is a senior on the women's fencing team.

National Champions Take on Stadium Clean Up

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IMG_4846.JPGBy Jennifer Hudson, GoPSUsports.com Student Athlete Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Bright and early on Sunday, Sept. 7 at 7 a.m., the men's and women's national championship fencing team took on their first challenge of the year - cleaning Beaver Stadium.

It is a continuing tradition that the fencing team cleans half of the stadium right after the first home football game.

In return for their hard work, the team gets money to fund the season for travel and other events.

Unlike other varsity teams, fencing does not have many sponsors to help fund traveling during the year, which is why stadium clean up is mandatory for the entire team.

Although it is not a group favorite, it does give the chance for a little team bonding before the season begins.

"It was an excellent team building exercise," said sophomore epee fencer, Conor Shepard. "It's been a tradition for a long time, and does an amazing job of bringing all classes together in order to get to know each other."

The upperclassmen will take a section to sweep next to freshmen to show them the best way for clean up. The coaches will also come around every so often to let team members know if they missed any piece of trash, any little wrapper.

"It was a good way to build discipline for the whole team," said freshmen saber fencer, Andrew Mackiewicz. "The freshman fencers were able to connect with the upperclassmen by helping each other out which is crucial for the upcoming season."

Communication during the whole process was key for the team.

With half the stadium to clean, it was important to see who needed help or who needed motivated to get everyone back on their feet in order to finish the task as soon as possible. Just like if it were a meet, it was important for everyone to be focused and in it together, no matter how mundane and tiring the task.

The team worked together in pairs, taking sections at a time to look for any little Minute Maid Lemonade wrapper and every popcorn kernel.

Seven hours later, the fencers were cleared to leave the spotless cleanup site.

With the joyous news, some of the team went with the coaches to get pizza, while others went home to shower and sleep.

Everyone was happy that this year's clean up was completed and some of the seniors rejoiced a little more.

"It was my last time," said senior saber fencer, Michael Brand. "It makes reality set in that I'm graduating this year."

The next task for the Penn State fencing team is to train hard for its first meet of the season, The Nittany Lion Cup Open on Oct. 4 and 5 at the White Building.


Jennifer Hudson is a junior on the women
's fencing team.

@GOPSUSPORTS

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