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March 7, 2014
By Astrid Diaz, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State fencing team has an incredibly long history of success, including 12 national titles, which is tied for the most by any varsity team.
With another postseason looming, the Nittany Lions will look to head into competition with confidence. At their most recent invitational at Temple University, the women went 3-1 while the men finished undefeated.
The team will look to continue their momentum this weekend when they travel to Easton, Pa., for the NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Regional competition.
The No. 2 men's team and No. 6 women's team will each be represented by six athletes for a total of 12 Nittany lions traveling east to compete.
For some, this weekend will be a first of many competitions to come but for others, like senior captain David Willette and senior captain Nicole Glon, this will begin last chance to represent Penn State, their team, and compete for a victory in the postseason.
"This year, I've worked hard and had one goal and that's to go to NCAAs and win...individually and, especially, as a team. I think we deserve it. We've worked really, really hard this year," said Glon.
"I'm really looking forward to trying to win. This is my last year and I really want to lead our team to a victory," said Willette. "And I really want to win the individual title."
Fencing, unlike most other varsity sports, is about individual competition but, regardless, this Penn State team works together and supports each other every step of the way.
"We put pressure on each other but we also support each other a lot. People will drive or fly out [to competitions]. Our team is really close. We will go out of our way to support each other," said Glon. "My favorite part is definitely my teammates...it's literally like everyone is my brother or sister."
"My favorite part of Penn State fencing...I love the team. I think our team does a really good job of including everyone and [we are] really close. I love that about [us]," said Willette.
Penn State fencing also has a joined men and women's team that practices, travels, and competes side by side.
"It allows for a larger pool of practice. There's a difference in skill level, obviously, but...I think it's a good moral support," said Willette. "Come competition time, we are all cheering for each other. It creates a stronger team unity and we all know that we have the same goal."
"If there's anything going on with the men's team, I know about it. If there's anything going on with the girls' team, [David] knows about. We try and stay connected all the time because we do everything together," said Glon. "It would be hard to have a separation."
The team has faced adversity its fair share of adversity in 2013-'14.
"It was hard...it's been a hard year to be a leader. I had to be able to say `okay, guys let's keep going. Everything is going to be okay'," said Glon.
The team has also faced incredible opponents and seen some hard losses.
"We've gotten kicked in the butt a couple times. We've gone to tournaments and done really badly," said Glon. "But now we understand what it takes and everyone's gotten really focused."
"While we are still doing well, every year we go for the championship," said Willette. "We see it as performing not quite to potential when we don't win national championships."
However, the team has picked itself back up and is more focused and more prepared than ever as they enter the post season.
They will compete this weekend under the leadership of head coach Wieslaw 'wes' Glon who is in his 28th season with the team.
When they compete this weekend, for what may be the last time, both seniors agreed that they would give it all they have.
"At this point, it's about taking every thing that we've learned and the things I know I can do well and showing it," said Nicole Glon.
"If I show enough motivation and work hard enough, other people will follow," said Willette.
The team will begin the postseason on March 8 at 8 a.m. at Lafayette College.