Once again, the fencing team ended its season on a high note.
The Owls placed eighth in the NCAA Championships last weekend in State College, Pa., as both junior epee Kristin Howell and junior foil Melissa Parker received All-American honorable mentions.
Because Temple doesn’t have a men’s fencing team, it finished 13th overall, as the scores for the men’s and women’s teams are combined.
Still, coach Nikki Franke was satisfied.
“Coach Baker and I are very pleased with how the team performed this year and how we did in these postseason tournaments,” Franke said. “First, we had a 22-7 season record. Next, we won the NIFWAs. Then, we had the maximum number of fencers qualify for the Regional Championships with nine making the finals.”
But it was juniors who the led the charge.
Both Howell and Parker placed 10th in the NCAAs in their respective competitions. Sophomore epee Grace Woo placed 15th, while freshman sabre Kamali Thompson finished 16th and sophomore sabre Audrey Barroso placed 18th.
The Owls, who entered the competition ranked No. 9 in the latest USFCA Coaches Poll, sent five fencers to the NCAAs, which is something Franke is quite proud of.
“We are very excited to have five out of a possible six fencers competing,” she said. “This ties a Temple record for the most NCAA qualifiers.”
That involved Parker and the other competitors going up against the best 23 fencers in each individual competition over a two-day span. The host Nittany Lions took home the crown, while Notre Dame finished second.
“It’s a tremendously strong tournament and two long days of competition against some of the strongest fencers in the country,” Franke said.
Howell, who became the first epee All-American in Temple history, finished 13-10. Parker, who is a two-time All-American, went 12-12. Woo went 9-14, Thompson 8-15, and Barroso 7-16, to round out the lineup.
The Owls’ roster features just three seniors in sabre Kristine Jones, foil Sabrina Shapiro, and epee Kaitlyn Uckert.
The young will team will return most of its players next year.
Joe Polinsky can be reached at email@example.com.