UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – After a turbulent season, the Nittany Lions fencing team will be heading to the 2016 NCAA National Collegiate Men’s and Women’s Fencing Championships in Boston. Penn State will be pursuing its 14th National Championship title this weekend, looking to come out on top after finishing in second place last year.
The competition will be held at Brandeis University’s Gosman Sports and Convocation Center from March 24 until March 27. The women’s events will be held March 24 – 25 beginning at 9:30 a.m. the first day, and 9 a.m. the second. The men will fence the final two days, following the same schedule.
Ten Nittany Lions will fence towards both individual and team championships. The competition will be a round-robin tournament, consisting of five-touch bouts. The top-four finishers per event will advance to the 15-touch bout semifinals, then finals. Schools will earn points in the team competition based on a one point-per victory for each fencer in the tournament.
Competing for the men include past NCAA men’s sabre champions, senior captain Kaito Streets (Redwood City, Calif.) and sophomore Andrew Mackiewicz (Westwood, Mass.), as well as senior Nobuo Bravo (San Francisco, Calif.), juniors Patrick August (Las Vegas, Nev.), Conor Shepard (Colleyville, Texas) and Howie Chan (Walnut, Calif.).
Competing for the women will be senior Jessica O’Neill-Lyublinsky (North Salem, N.Y.), junior captain Jessie Radanovich (Tollhouse, Calif.), junior Teodora Kakhiani (Tbilisi, Georgia) and sophomore Kathryn Charpin (Setauket, N.Y.).
While the team did not qualify the desired two fencers per gender per weapon like it was hoping for, sending ten athletes to the championships is a great accomplishment for the team. Injuries dogged the Nittany Lions during the arduous regular-season, causing two Mid-Atlantic / South Regional qualifiers to pull out of the competition last minute.
While it will be an uphill battle for the team title, the Nittany Lions are looking forward to seeing great individual performances on the strip.
Since the combined championships began in 1990, Penn State has taken home the national title 13 times and were runner-ups nine times. The team has seen a combined 20 National Individual Champions, 11 men and nine women.
Live results can be accessed here: http://www.escrimeresults.com/NCAA/NCAA2016.html.
Fans can catch the semifinal and final bouts of the competition on ESPN3 or via the WatchESPN App. Highlights of the championships will air on ESPNU at 2:30 p.m. EST, on April 6.
Check back on GoPSUsports.com for results of this weekend’s collegiate fencing action. Penn State fans are encouraged to follow Penn State fencing via Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/pennstateFEN, on Penn State Fencing's Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pennstatefencing and on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/pennstateFEN.