Fencing kicks off 2022 slate this weekend
Jose Sanchez Cordova | Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Following an undefeated start to the season, the Notre Dame fencing team is back in action this weekend for the first time in 2022 with two meets on the east coast.
Since the defending national champions last competed on Dec. 5, the U.S. Fencing Coaches Association (USFCA) released their Early Season poll, with the 16-0 women’s team and 12-0 men’s team both topping their respective polls.
Competing back-to-back days this weekend, the Irish begin with a meet in Queens, New York at the St. John’s Invitational. Here they will face Ohio State, Penn State, Harvard, Columbia and the host St. John’s.
It’s a short drive down I-95 to Philadelphia for the team’s second meet at the Philadelphia Invitational on Sunday. Here they will face Division III standouts Drew and top-ranked NYU, Ivy League opponents Columbia, Yale and Princeton and the meet’s hosts Penn.
This weekend marks Notre Dame’s first bouts against Ivy League opposition since February 2020 following the conference’s cancellation of all sports during the 2020-2021 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The matchup against Columbia is especially intriguing because they were ranked No. 2 behind Notre Dame in both the men’s and women’s USFCA polls. The Lions also have an undefeated season with the women’s team at 11-0 and the men at 10-0. Columbia was the reigning national champion before the Irish triumph last March.
Princeton and Harvard’s teams represent even more highly ranked opposition for the Irish this weekend in what is a clear step up in competition for the defending champions.
Saturday will also be Notre Dame’s first meeting with the national runners-up Nittany Lions since the Irish claimed their 11th national title in University Park last March. However, Penn State’s powerhouse fencing program has had a turbulent start to the season.
The team was without their longtime head coach Wes Glon following a suspension due to allegations of suppressing sexual misconduct complaints. Following the conclusion of the investigation in November, Glon returned to the team on probation. Nevertheless, the Nittany Lions have two top-10 ranks (7th in the men’s and 5th in the women’s) in the USFCA’s polls, making them a notable opponent for the Irish.
With two meets in 48 hours against top-level opposition, this weekend marks a turning point for the Irish fencing team. Without a doubt, a successful weekend will give them momentum heading into their home meet in the final weekend of January.