When Ally Micek walked into the Northwestern Duals, it was nerve-wracking.
Micek, a sophomore Ohio State University transfer, was getting ready to fence not only her former team, but also her old roommate. Some awkward looks were exchanged, and Micek’s best friend and teammate, freshman epee Camille Simmons, pulled her over to hype her up before going on the strip.
Once Micek got on the strip, she transformed into the fencer Simmons told her she was, as she won 5-0 against her former roommate and teammate, Buckeyes sophomore epee Emma von Dadelszen.
“I transferred for certain reasons, so I felt like I wanted to prove that I transferred for the right reasons,” Micek said.
Micek had a 37-19 record at Ohio State as a freshman.
But Micek felt like she wasn’t given enough opportunities with the Buckeyes, and she didn’t like the team’s lack of closeness. After Micek wasn’t picked to fence in the NCAA Regionals, she knew switching schools was the right move.
Simmons visited Micek in March 2016, and she pushed her to transfer to Temple.
While the two sat on a bench out front of Bradley Hall, a residence hall at Ohio State, Micek prepared to send an email to coach Nikki Franke about possibly transferring to Temple.
But Micek was too nervous to send the email and saved it to her drafts. Simmons then grabbed the MacBook out of Micek’s hands and sent the email herself.
“It was actually kind of a process,” Micek said. “I sent the email and then realized … I had to go through [the NCAA] and my coaches to get a release in order to talk to other coaches.”
Once Micek got her release from Ohio State, she weighed out her options and was in contact with Temple, Penn State and the University of the Incarnate Word about transferring.
In April 2016, she made her recruiting visit to Temple before she officially committed two months later.
Franke tried to recruit Micek to Temple when she was entering her senior year of high school, but she won her over on the second try.
“She’s a sweetheart, she’s like our mom away from mom figure,” Micek said. “She takes care of us, she makes sure we’re OK. … She’s so big on making sure this team is close and keeping everyone so supportive of each other.”
Prior to fencing together at Temple, Micek and Simmons fenced with each other at the Alliance Fencing Academy in Houston. The two have been best friends since meeting at the club when they were 10 years old, and they spend the holidays at each other’s houses.
As teammates at Alliance, Micek and Simmons would travel all over the country together to fence competitively, and not much has changed eight years later.
Micek and Simmons were two of four Owls to fence in the Junior Olympics in Kansas City, Missouri last weekend.
Micek placed 81st in the Junior Women’s Epee, while Simmons placed 86th.
In the Junior Team Women’s epee, Micek, Simmons and sophomore Fiona Fong placed eighth out of 29 clubs.
Tom Ignudo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Ignudo5.