Penn State Fencing Earns Second Overall Finish In National Championships

Despite competing with only 11 fencers instead of the allotted 12, Penn State fencing earned a second place finish behind a combined Columbia and Barnard squad in this weekend’s NCAA Championship. Freshman Andrew Mackiewicz was the Nittany Lions’ sole individual champion, Penn State’s second national champion in two days after Matt Brown wrestled for an individual title Saturday evening.

It’s the conclusion of another impressive season for the men and women’s fencing teams, which have won 13 national championships in their dynastic existence, including a national title last year.

Mackiewicz’s victory is Penn State’s second consecutive national championship in as many years in the men’s saber competition.

“Coming in as a freshman, I was nervous, but super excited,” he said following the match. “I was ready to give it everything I’ve got. At the end of the day, it came down to who wanted the title most and I believe at heart that I wanted it the most today.”

As the men’s portion of the tournament wrapped up on Saturday afternoon, Penn State remained in third place behind Ohio State and eventual champion Columbia. Nobuo Bravo fell in the final match of the men’s foil event. Kaito Streets earned a sixth place finish in the saber, and David Gomez Tanamachi placed No. 13 in foil.

When the women’s tournament concluded the following day, two Penn State underclassmen, Karen Change and Teodora Kakhiani, battled in the saber semifinals. Chang survived the offenses of her own teammate, but eventually fell to Notre Dame in the individual national championship. Kakhiani placed third in the event.

While Penn State is a perennial fencing powerhouse, Pennsylvania is far from a fencing hotbed. It took efforts from California native Jessie Radanovich (fifth, epee), Frenchwoman Clarisse Lumnet (sixth, foil), and Russian Alina Antokhina (14th, foil) to earn the Nittany Lions its second place overall title.

Penn State is a continuous force in the annual event. Prior to last year’s national championship, the team either placed first or second from 2009-11.

Image: Penn State Fencing

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Ben Berkman

State College, PA

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