A PennWest California student's sword-making skills have earned him the top prize on a recent episode of a History Channel competition.

Ian Zimmerman appeared on the Nov. 2 episode of “Forged in Fire,” a competition-style show where world-class bladesmiths re-create historical edged weapons. Contestants were tasked with making a Japanese greatsword, and Zimmerman performed his best tribute to the California mascot "Blaze" – a Vulcan and the Roman god of fire.

A technical studies major, Zimmerman has taken jewelry courses at California and works as jeweler intern at MarBill Diamonds & Jewelry in Belle Vernon. He started blacksmithing in April 2020 “due to lack of things to do during the quarantine.”

He also is a member of the California cross country and track & field teams.

“The mindset and perseverance of Coach Caulfield and my high school coach, Coach Sherlock, help to create in me played a massive role in how I approached the challenges I faced. It was all in all just a wonderful experience and I’m blessed to have been able to compete on the show.”

The episode is available via streaming with a supported cable to TV package at https://www.history.com/shows/forged-in-fire.