Posts tagged ‘Fencing’

Miles Chamley-Watson and Monica Aksamit Earn Bronze Medals

A pair of Penn State fencing alumni picked up medals at the 2016 Olympic Games over the weekend. Miles Chamley-Watson ’13 and Monica Aksamit ’12 won bronze medals as members of the men’s foil team and the women’s sabre team.

Chamley-Watson earned his bronze on Friday when the U.S. took down Italy, 45-31, and the squad earned its first medal in the event since 1932. This was a rematch of the semifinals at the 2012 Olympics; all four American fencers who competed on Friday were on the 2012 team.

Aksamit won her medal on Saturday. The women’s sabre team also beat Italy, 45-30, and it marked the second bronze in a row for the United States in this event.

Both of these medals were significant for Penn State’s fencing program, as Chamley-Watson became the first American alumnus and Aksamit became the first female alumnus to medal.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

August 15, 2016 at 12:06 pm Leave a comment

Looking for a Lift to Rio

The road to the Olympics isn’t cheap, and if you’re an amateur athlete in a lesser-publicized sport—even a world-class competitor—it can be prohibitive. For Monica Aksamit ’12, the 2012 NCAA fencing runner-up and a three-time All-American during her collegiate career, the road to the 2016 Summer Games in Rio goes through qualifying competitions all over the world. The more she enters, the more points she earns toward her overall ranking. The price tag is steep: Last year alone, she says, travel to international and domestic events topped $13,000.

sponsor_monicaTo help defray costs, Aksamit has launched a campaign through the site, a crowdfunding page focused solely on helping athletes. She started the campaign last week, hoping to raise $23,000 in 45 days and by the end of the first week had raised $3,845. As she says on her campaign page:

With minimal funding in this sport, the purpose of this campaign is to assist in the costs of properly training on my Road to Rio. Like many professional athletes are paid to do their jobs, this is not the case with fencing and I need to give 100% focus to bettering myself in pursuit of the Olympics on a daily basis!

Aksamit has relied mostly on social media and the help of friends acting as her personal sports information department to get the word out. She eventually plans to reach out to other organizations, including local political officials, women’s groups, and fellow fencing members across the country. “I have a relatively set game plan,” she says.

B.J. Reyes, associate editor

August 3, 2015 at 8:09 am 1 comment

The Penn Stater Daily — March 24, 2014


The champs are here: So, how was your weekend? If you’re a Penn State sports fan, it was probably pretty great. The highlight came Saturday night in Oklahoma City, when the Nittany Lion wrestlers emerged from a tight team battle with Minnesota and Oklahoma State to clinch the program’s fourth straight NCAA championship. Ed Ruth (above) made history at 184 pounds, becoming Penn State’s first three-time NCAA champ, while fellow senior David Taylor was named the tournament’s Most Dominant Wrestler en route to his second 165-pound title. Seven Lions earned All-America status on the weekend—maybe none more impressively than sixth-year senior James English, who capped an injury-plagued career with a win in his final bout. And for some great post-tournament color, Tim Owen’s column at Blue-White Illustrated is worth a read.

Lucky 13: Speaking of national championship dynasties… On Sunday morning in Columbus, the Penn State fencing team out-dueled Princeton and the rest of the field to claim the program’s 13th combined NCAA title. Sophomore Kaito Streets not only has a very cool name, but he also claimed the national title in men’s saber, making him the 13th individual champ in school history.

Hoop on: The women’s basketball team opened NCAA tournament play Sunday with a 62-56 victory over Wichita State. The third-seeded Lady Lions will back back in the BJC Tuesday night, when they host Florida for a chance to go to the Sweet 16. Meanwhile, the Nittany Lions travel to Siena tonight for a quarterfinal CBI matchup. That game airs at 7 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.

Make a face: Well, this is cool. Researchers led by Penn State anthropologist Mark Shriver have figured out a way to create crude but recognizable 3D models of human faces using nothing more than DNA. It’s complicated and fascinating stuff.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

March 24, 2014 at 8:59 am Leave a comment

The Penn Stater Daily — March 21, 2014

Hail to the victors: Penn State lined up against No. 12 Michigan on Thursday in the first ever Big Ten hockey tournament game, and for the third time in five meetings this season, the Nittany Lions came out on top. It took 52 saves from goalie Matthew Skoff, a breakaway goal from Taylor Holstrom, a spinning puck kicked off the goal line—with about a millimeter to spare—by Eric Scheid, and a 93rd-minute goal by freshman Zach Saar, but the Lions advanced with a 2-1, double-overtime win. You can see all the highlights below:

Penn State is set to face Wisconsin in the tournament semifinals at 3 p.m. today.

Dynasty building: The top-ranked Nittany Lion wrestling team stands in first place after Thursday’s opening day at the NCAA championship meet in Oklahoma City. The meet continues Friday and wraps up Saturday night, when coach Cael Sanderson’s squad will be looking to clinch its fourth straight national title. Meanwhile, the men’s and women’s fencing teams—ranked 1st and 5th nationally—enter the NCAA Championships in Columbus today looking to add the program’s 13th overall national title. And the Lady Lion basketball team, a No. 3 seed, opens NCAA tournament play at home Sunday against Wichita State.

A hazing death? The suicide of a Penn State Altoona freshman has become national news as police investigate a possible connection to fraternity hazing. Marquise Braham died Friday in Long Island, and the Altoona chapter of Phi Sigma Kappa has been suspended by the campus pending an investigation.

Change is constant: In the latest in a series previewing spring football practice, Mike Poorman ’82 of focuses on redshirt junior Anthony Alosi, one of the few Lions to be suiting up for their fourth spring practice—meaning, of course, that’s he’s done so for three head coaches. It’s a cool perspective, and a reminder of how just much change the veterans on this team have witnessed during their careers.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

March 21, 2014 at 11:51 am Leave a comment

Gen Ed Classes: A Lot of Learning, A Little Bit of Fun

Twice a year, I find myself staring at my computer screen feeling completely and utterly overwhelmed.

When it comes time to schedule classes, I’m always intimidated by eLion’s lists and lists of courses. That’s what happens when you go to a school with 40,000 students and more than 160 majors. I’m usually fine with classes in my areas of study (journalism and English), but general education courses are a different story. There simply are too many. Some seem intriguing; some, not so much.

Gen-ed requirements have changed a lot over the years: Now, all baccalaureate degree programs include a 45-credit gen-ed component, including three credits in health and physical activity, nine credits in natural science, six credits in art, six credits in humanities, and six credits in social and behavioral sciences.

So as students begin to schedule for fall 2012, I took a look at some of Penn State’s more interesting gen-ed courses. I begin with a class I took last year—a class where SpongeBob appears on the syllabus.


Course: Geosci 040: The Sea Around Us

Requirement satisfied: GN (Natural Science)

Why I took it: I’m not a science person at all. I had to late drop meteorology my freshman year (who knew predicting weather included calculus?) and needed an easier science class to take.

Interesting assignment: Once, we reported to the HUB-Robeson Center for class. Our lab that day consisted of analyzing the aquarium on the bottom floor. I had no idea there was such an intricate ecosystem living just 100 feet away from Sbarro’s. The most interesting aspect, to me, was that the 500-gallon tank has a self-regulated lighting system, which gets dark at night to mimic the real ocean.

What I got out of it: A new appreciation for beaches and environmentalism. When I visited Cape Cod last summer, I had a hard time looking at the dunes without thinking about how big they once were, and how they got there.


Course: CMLIT 120: The Literature of the Occult

Requirement satisfied: GH (Humanities)

Interesting assignment: Read the third installment of the Harry Potter series.

What you can get out of it: “In all honesty, an appreciation for the Harry Potter series,” says Alexa Agugliaro, who says she wasn’t on the J.K. Rowling bandwagon before enrolling in the course. “There are a lot of major drabby classes that people have to take while they’re here, so why not, if you have the room, take a cool class about like vampires and monsters.” It’s not all Harry Potter and Twilight, though. Agugliaro wrote her final term paper on the witches in Macbeth.

Side note: Agugliaro says the teacher wore a wizard hat and a robe every day and had a magic wand.


Course: KINES 028: Fencing

Requirement satisfied: GHA (Health and Physical Activity)

Interesting assignment: Just fence. Senior Matt Giacometti said there’s not much variety to the course, but he doesn’t mind. Students participate in basic drills, then fence each other. “It’s fun,” Giacometti says. “Exactly what you want from the class.”

What you can get out of it: “A ton,” Giacometti says. “I’m learning from coaches that have succeeded at the highest level. These guys have coached Olympians.” Giacometti’s professors for the course? Assistant coaches with the Penn State varsity fencing team—a program with 12 national championships and more than 170 All-Americans in the last 28 years. Did you know that Suzie Paxton ’93, a former Nittany Lion fencer and 1996 Olympian, started fencing in this gym class?


Course: Applied Linguistics 100

Requirement satisfied: GS (Social and Behavioral Sciences)

Interesting assignment: During one class, the students were asked to think of as many examples of semantic word as they could. As junior Jackie Giraldo recalls, “That was the first time I ever heard the word yinz,” Giraldo says.

What you can get out of it: Says Giraldo: “I learned how language has evolved over time, but also got a deeper look at how words have evolved, how syntax has evolved, and why things are said different ways in different places. I definitely have a new appreciation of communication of different cultures.”


Course: INART 115: Popular Music in America

Requirement satisfied:  GA (Arts)

Interesting assignment: Students were required to participate in online discussions. One debate revolved around who is the most influential musician today, with one student making a good case that the answer was definitively Lady Gaga.

What you can get out of it: “I now understand the hardships that a lot of musicians had to endure in the past in great music from that, era like the jazz and blues,” junior Jared Cruz says. “And it also influenced the development of music nowadays.”

 Emily Kaplan, intern

March 21, 2012 at 3:23 pm Leave a comment

Once Again, Penn State Fencers Are National Champs

Death, taxes and the Penn State fencing team winning national championships. There aren’t many things in life you can count on, but just about every year at this time, it’s a relatively safe bet that Emmanuil Kaidanov will bring another NCAA trophy back to Happy Valley. The longtime coach and his squad did just that over the weekend at Harvard, posting 191 points to edge second-place St. John’s (182) and third-place Notre Dame (180) for the national title. It’s the second in a row, fifth in the past 10 years, and 12th overall for Penn State.

The Nittany Lions did it with quality and quantity: Freshman Margherita Guzzi Vincenti (pictured) from Milan, Italy, was Penn State’s only individual champ, winning the title in women’s epee, but the Lions reached the finals in four of six events. That finish lifted Penn State from third place — where it stood entering the final day of competition — to first when it mattered most.

You can find complete results here.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

March 29, 2010 at 4:33 pm Leave a comment

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