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Fencing Team Claims Record 10th National Title

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MADISON, N.J.; March 25, 2007 - The Penn State men's and women's fencing team claimed their 10th national title today after an outstanding performance by the Penn State women. Three Nittany Lion women qualified for the gold medal bouts with freshman Doris Willette (Lafayette, Calif.) putting in an impressive performance for the gold medal.

Going into the final rounds Penn State was leading the way with 150 points. They would hold onto their lead and finish with an impressive 194 points. St. John's University finished second with 176 points and Columbia University rounded out the top three with 169.

The women were led by Willette who lost only one bout during the first round. Her final record was an impressive 22-1. In the semifinals, she had to compete against fellow teammate senior Tamara Najm (Morristown, N.J.) and won the bout 15-5. She would go on to defeat St. John's Monika Golebiewski 15-10 to take the title. Najm finished fourth overall in women's foil with a final bout record of 18-5.

After a first place finish at regionals, sophomore Caitlin Thompson (Portland, Ore.) also finished strong in Penn State's quest for the national title in the women's saber division. In the semifinals she defeated Columbia's Emily Johnson 15-7. She fell to Columbia's Daria Schneider in the final with a score of 15-11. Her final record was for the tournament was 20-3. Three-time All-American and senior captain Sophia Hiss (Oklahoma City, Okla.) finished eighth overall with a bout record of 15-8.

In women's epee, freshman Anastasia Ferdman (Maalot, Israel) finished fourth overall with a bout record of 16-7. She advanced to the gold medal bouts but was defeated for the bronze medal by St. John's Reka Szele. Senior teammate Case Szarwark (Nashville, Tenn.) finished the tournament seventh overall with a bout record of 14-9.

This is Penn State's 10th national title under Coach Emmanuil Kaidanov after finishing second at last year's NCAA Championships. They earned sixth straight and a seventh in a span of eight years. Their last national title came in 2002. Going into the 2007 NCAA Fencing Championships, Penn State was ranked first in both men's and women's fencing in the 2007 USFCA College Fencing Coaches' Poll.

Highlights of the men's and women's fencing championships, as well as other winter sports championships, will be shown on CBS at 1 p.m. Eastern time, Saturday, May 5. For results for the entire four day event, check out

 Top Ten Teams (at championship end) Place School Total 1. Penn State University 194 2. St. John's University 176 3. Columbia/Barnard 169 4. University of Notre Dame 160 5. Ohio State University 144 6. Harvard University 123 7. University of Pennsylvania 104 8. Wayne State University 76 9. Stanford University 67 10. Princeton University 64