Andrew Mackiewicz made quite a first impression when he arrived at Penn State University. As a freshman, the 2014 Westwood High graduate won the NCAA men’s fencing title in sabre. The 20-year-old repeated as national champion at Brandeis University in late March, registering a 15-11 come-from-behind win over Ferenc Valkai (St. John’s University) in the final. He is the ninth back-to-back sabre champion in NCAA history. After running up a 32-8 record, with nine shutouts, Mackiewicz compiled a 25-7 mark as a sophomore. A fencer since age 8, he got his start training at Zeta Fencing in Natick, under the guidance of Zoran Tulum, coach of the US national team.
Q. Your reaction to repeating as national champion?
A. I still don’t think it has hit me yet. Last year as a freshman it kind of hit me right away, but this time it’s taking a little longer to sink in. Winning back-to-back titles is something special but hopefully it’s not my last one. I’d like to get two more.
Q. What is most important aspect to being successful in fencing?
A. When you compete at a high level everyone is in great shape and everyone works hard. The biggest thing is being mentally prepared. Fencing is a huge mental game and you’re always try to think what you can do to outsmart your opponent. The closest thing to fencing is tennis. It’s a back-and-forth kind of game. If you’re having a good day and feeling positive about yourself, then you’ll succeed.
Q. What are your aspirations for fencing beyond college?
A. Ideally I would like to be selected as a spotter for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. As a spotter, I would join the top two United States fencers in Rio to help them practice and prepare for their bouts. It will definitely be a learning experience for me when I’m preparing for the 2020 Olympics.