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March 28, 2010
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.- The Penn State fencers are the 2010 NCAA National Champions again, despite starting the final day of competition in third place and only winning one individual title. This is the team's fifth National Title win in the decade.
Today marked the final day of competition at the NCAA National Fencing Championships, with the men's individual titles still up for the taking.
In the men's saber, senior Daniel Bak (Franklin Lakes, N.J.) entered the semifinals in first place, which placed him against fellow teammate, sophomore Aleksander Ochocki (Clark, N.J.), who ended the regular round in fourth place.
Ochocki lost the bout to Bak by a close 15-12 score, ending his chance to win back-to-back individual titles. Bak continued on to the final round against St. John's Daryl Homer, but fell short of winning his first individual title with a 15-10 loss.
In the men's foil, freshman David Willette (Lafayette, Calif.) and sophomore Miles Chamley-Watson (Philadelphia, Pa.) both made it to the semifinal round in the first seed and fourth seed, respectively.
Willette defeated Notre Dame's Enzo Castellani by a score of 15-11. Notre Dame's Olympic fencer Gerek Meinhardt defeated Chamley-Watson 15-11 in the semifinal round.
In the final round, Willette lost the bout to Meinhardt by a score of 15-9.
In the men's epee, senior captain Nick Chinman (Boulder, Colo.) made it to the semifinals with a chance to defend has individual title win at least year's National Championships. Unfortunately, his efforts fell short and he lost to Peter French from the Air Force, 15-4.
Even though the Penn State fencers were only able to capture one individual title this season, they accumulated enough wins throughout each round to finish with 191 victories overall, nine victories ahead of St. John's, the second place team. Notre Dame finished in third place with 180 wins.
Coach Emmanuil Kaidanov said he was overwhelmed with joy that the team managed to come back strong and win.
"It's a great achievement, even when it was not expected," Coach Kaidanov said. "But today's performances were flawless, they did a super job...It was a great day and another sensation was that the second place team was St. John's and that the favorite, Notre Dame, was third place. I think we are fortunate to have such outstanding fencers. I'm very proud."
Coach Kaidanov has now led the team to its 12th National Championship win and 27 individual titles.