Student-Athlete Spotlight

Zsombor Garzo, C'18 - Men's Fencing

1. Name: Zsombor Garzo

2. Class Year: 2018

3. Sport: Men's Fencing

4. Position: Epee

5. Why did you choose Penn?

Penn had everything I was looking for: strong academics where I can continue fencing on the highest level. Penn has a beautiful campus in an urban area and as a city boy, it was important to me to live in an urban-setting, but also have access to a campus, not just to a few buildings in a city. Penn offered me all of those things.

6. What does the experience of being a Penn Fencing student-athlete mean to you?

Being a Penncing student-athlete shaped my Penn experience and I would not want it any other way. The team has become my family (far) away from home and my main social outlet. Fencing is an individual sport outside college, but I always described myself as a team player, so it is the perfect storm for me. There is no better feeling than having all your teammates rush the strip after clinching a win. Being a student-athlete might take up most of my time, but it also gives me so much. I made friends across many sports and got familiar with their respective sports. Cheering my friends on a perfect landing, scoring a three/point/goal/kill or hitting the wall first are all an essential parts of being a student-athlete. I could not imagine my Penn experience without Penn Athletics.

7. What would you say to the donors who invest in your experience as a Fencing student-athlete? 

I would like to thank each and every donor. Thank you for allowing us to do the thing we love. Thank you for believing in us. Thank you for helping us to become the best versions of ourselves. Thanks to you, Penn Fencing has become one of the top  programs in the nation. Thanks to you, other teams dread to face the Red and Blue.

8. What has been your favorite moment/memory with Penn Fencing?

Every moment with Penn Fencing has been memorable. But probably my favorite moment with the team was when we clinched the Ivy League title with a win over Harvard my sophomore year. It was an unforgettable moment, since the team had not won for 7 years before that. We had been listening to our upperclassmen for almost 2 years on how winning Ivies is our ultimate goal and winning was actually cathartic.

9. What does life after Penn look like?

Everything is still up in the air, but I would like to work somewhere along the lines of sustainability, consulting and business. I also hope that I will be able to work in the US for a while, hopefully in New York. I am planning to take a break from academia for a few years, but grad school is on my to-do list, most likely an MBA. Eventually, I want to work for the UN in environmental policy making.

10. What are some lessons that you have learned through athletics at Penn that will stay with you after graduation?

Penn taught me many valuable lessons. I learned a lot about team work and how important it is to support each other no matter what. We do fitness tests -mile, sprint, suicides, push-ups, situ-ups, planks, long-jump- a couple of times in the fall and it is always awesome to see how we push each other to get better and that support really makes the difference when we fence. We came back from 6-13 to win 14-13 (You need 14 to win in college fencing). I learned that with grit we can achieve a lot more than we would think and our hard work has been paying off, both on and off the strip. Finally, I learned a lot about myself thanks to the McNulty Leadership Program, especially about my qualities and strength as a leader.