Serious Swordplay

March 20, 2009 at 4:54 pm 1 comment

I spent Friday morning at the Multi-Sport Facility here at University Park, checking out the mid-to-late rounds of the men’s NCAA Fencing Championships. Penn State finished the day in terrific shape, leading the overall team race and winning individual national championships in two of three weapons. (The women fence this weekend, with preliminary rounds on Saturday and the late rounds and finals on Sunday. You can see the full schedule here.)

I had a blast showing my four-year-old these “real” sword-fighters, though I found it difficult to explain how two Penn State fencers could face each other (as happened when Daniel Bak faced teammate Aleksander Ochocki in the semifinals of saber). “But which one’s the stinky team, Daddy?” he asked. As my son understands it, sports involve a good team (usually Penn State) playing a “stinky” team (often Michigan or Ohio State). I tried to explain how fencing is an individual sport, and that two athletes from the same team occasionally have to compete against each other.

He wasn’t buying it.

Anyway, I put my very limited camera skills to work, borrowing the office Nikon to shoot what I could. Thankfully a few shots turned out semi-respectably (all of which you can see much bigger by clicking on the images below). Enjoy.

James Moody advances against his opponent. He finished 6th in epee.

Senior James Moody (right) advances against his opponent. Moody finished 6th in epee.

Officials check the electronic wiring that registers touches on fencers' suits. Scoring bouts can be pretty complicated: Different parts of the body are fair game depending on the weapon, and officials can overrule the electronics — which, did I mention, don't always work?

A tournament official checks the electronic wiring that registers touches on fencers' suits. Scoring bouts can be pretty complicated: Different parts of the body are fair game depending on the weapon, and officials can overrule the electronics — which, did I mention, don't always work?

Penn State junior Nick Chinman (right) lost this bout, but he rebounded to win gold in foil.

Penn State junior Nick Chinman (right) lost this bout, but he rebounded to win gold in foil.

Chinman's blue Nikes. Fencing shoes look pretty cool.

Chinman's blue Nikes. Fencing shoes are pretty cool.

Legendary Penn State coach Emmanuil Kaidanov watches a bout.

Legendary Penn State coach Emmanuil Kaidanov watches a bout.

Miles Chamley Watson (center), a Penn State freshman, listens as an official explains a contested point. Chamley-Watson eventually lost to teammate Nick Chinman in the foil semifinals and finished tied for third.

Miles Chamley-Watson (center), a Penn State freshman, listens as an NCAA official explains a contested point in an early bout. Chamley-Watson eventually lost to teammate Nick Chinman in the foil semifinals and finished tied for third.

Penn State teammates Daniel Bak (left) and Aleksander Ochocki face off in an all-Penn State semifinal bout..

Penn State teammates Daniel Bak (left) and Aleksander Ochocki face off in the saber semis.

Ochocki takes a breather during his semifinal bout with Bak.

Ochocki takes a breather during his semifinal bout with Bak.

Ochocki celebrates his 15-13 victory over Bak. The freshman went on to beat Daryl Homer of St. John's for the NCAA saber title.

Ochocki celebrates his 15-13 victory over Bak. The Penn State freshman went on to beat Daryl Homer of St. John's for the NCAA saber title.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. The Champs Are Here « The Penn Stater  |  March 23, 2009 at 9:33 am

    […] Champs Are Here By Ryan Jones The men did their part on Thursday and Friday. The Penn State women finished the job over the weekend, winning two of […]

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