After a 27-10 individual record, a second place finish in the U.S. Fencing Junior Olympics, the No. 1 seed at the NCAA Regionals in the epee competition, seventh in the NCAA Championships, and becoming Temple’s first epee All-American, sophomore Kristin Howell can add another honor to the list.
Howell was named Female Student Athlete of the Year at the sixth-annual Breakfast of Champions on April 23 for her role in leading the Temple women’s fencing team to a 24-6 overall record and No. 8 ranking in the nation.
“This is such a huge honor, especially for me being a sophomore.” Howell said about the award. “The only thing I can really do is continue to work hard and do my best to have an equally good, or even better, season next year.”
There were eight nominees up for the award. The criteria to win included a combination of academic and athletic performance.
Howell not only excelled in meets, but she also got it done in the classroom, posting a 3.06 cumulative grade point average as an undeclared university studies major.
At the Breakfast of Champions, she and fellow sophomore Melissa Parker were honored for achieving All-American status for 2007-2008. Parker became the Owls’ first second-team All-American since Lisa Honig in 1994.
“Making All-American this season was exhilarating” Howell said. “Last season, I narrowly missed the championships, so making it this year and doing so well [felt good].”
Howell, Parker, co-captain Christie Griffith and fellow epee player Grace Wu were recognized for participating in the NCAA Tournament, an event in which Howell placed ninth.
The Penn State Multi-Meet on January 26 was also a highlight of Howell’s season. Not only did Temple have a perfect 4-0 record during the meet, defeating North Carolina, Haverford, and Drew, but the Owls also knocked off the defending NCAA champions, Penn State, 14-13.
“We hadn’t beaten Penn State for years, so that was a great moment.” Howell said. “We fought so hard and we succeeded. I will never forget that day.”
Assistant coach Bradley Baker said the win proved to the team that they can beat anyone in the country with a little effort and focus.
With the award, Howell and the rest of the fencing team look forward to the upcoming 2008-2009 season.
Joe Polinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.