With a phenomenal regular season behind them, the women’s fencing team (19-5, seventh in the NCAA) has entered the post season with a passion for victory.
However, just before their regular season ended, three Owls traveled to Colorado Springs to compete in the Junior Olympics.
Sophomore Jeanne Browne finished 26th while freshmen Jenna Remmert and Maryanne Forsythe finished 35th and 89th, respectively.
Browne earned individual points for herself by placing in the top 32 out of 149 foilists.
“It’s a big deal for them,” coach Zoila Polacio said.
Melissa Forsythe, a high school sophomore, and Maryanne’s sister, also
participated at the Junior Olympics in the epee division and placed 71st out of 112.
Last weekend, the Owls began their post-season at State College to compete in the National Intercollegiate Women’s Fencing Association Championship.
They won three of the four events, including the overall team championship, and captured the Epee and Foil championships.
Sakinah Shaahid placed second in the Saber championship.
Forsythe took the gold in Epee and was named first team all conference, while Stephanie Sargent was named to the all conference second team, placing sixth in epee.
Browne won the gold in foil and was also named to the first team all conference.
Katrina Najm placed eighth in the epee and was named to the third team all conference and the all-academic team.
The Owls next competition, the NCAA Mid-Atlantic South Regional Championship, will take place this weekend at State College.
Fencers need only to have participated in more than 50 percent of the season and have obtained at least a 40 percent winning record to qualify.
“Everyone who makes it there definitely deserves to be there,” Polacio said.
“If they make it there, that means they’re a good challenge…and so are we.”
Sophomore Amanda Gerwer will not make the trip after suffering a knee injury.
This event is crucial because the results will determine which fencers will be traveling to West Point, New York, to compete in the National Championships.
The NCAA Men’s and Women’s Fencing Committee will choose who will proceed based on regular season performance and opponents’ strength.
Only two fencers in each weapon will be allowed to represent their respective schools.
The Owls barely made an impression at last years competition, with their highest ranking coming from in the foil.
Graduate Stefanie Izzolino cut her way to fifth-place entry in the finals, while Browne finished 10th (also qualifying for finals), Okoro 19th, Najm 18th and Brumell 21st to round out the rest of the foil squad.
Penn State sophomore Meredith Chin dominated the foil division in her rookie year and could do the same this year.
She amassed a 35-8 record this season as the Lions have roared their way to an undefeated 18-0 in dual competition.
The saber team faired just as well.
Shaahid and Hassan finished sixth and eighth in the finals, respectively, Macomber and graduate Sara Ironman tied for 15th, and Gerwer finished 21st.
It was another rookie that took first place honors in this weapon, this time from Princeton.
Sophomore Catherine Pack tore through the saber field, but should find things more difficult this time since the Owls have improved this past season.
Epee saw only one Owl visit the finals. Graduate Julia Korony finished eighth, while Sara Forsythe placed 11th, Sargent 21st and Luckhardt 25th.
Polacio understands what the Regionals mean to the team and hopes to see some of the Owls go far.
“Our goal is to get some people into the finals,” Polacio said.
“Because it’s a pretty decided factor in getting into the [NCAA] Finals.”
Steve Papurt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org