Fencers get a fresh start at Open

Saturday was a day to remember for the fencing team.

Hosting the 28th annual Temple Open, the Owls placed 10 fencers among the top eight of the Epee, Foil and Sabre competitions at McGonigle Hall.

Freshman Grace Wu highlighted the afternoon, winning the Epee competition. Wu placed first among 84 fencers and became the second Owl in as many years to capture the event. Last year’s winner, sophomore Kristin Howell, tied for third place with teammate Alyssa Lombardi, a freshman.

In the foil competition, Temple claimed four of the top eight spots. Leading the way was senior Samantha Myles, who finished second. Sophomore Melissa Parker, an All-American last season, finished tied for third with teammate Nina Gernes, a junior. Sophomore Meredith Bratton finished in seventh place.

In the sabre event, Temple fought a hard match. Freshman Audrey Barroso placed second in her first-ever collegiate event while senior Kristine Jones tied for third. Freshman Samantha Pascarelli garnered seventh.

“This is a great beginning to the season,” coach Nikki Franke said. “It was a nice first test. We were especially pleased with how well the girls adjusted to their opponents, as well as how well our freshmen performed.”

Franke said this year’s team is stronger with more experience under its belt than last year’s team, which finished the season ranked No. 9 in the United States Fencing Coaches Association poll.

“We have a good team atmosphere,” Parker said. “We have a lot of energy.”

Parker set the bar high for herself last season, when she earned All-American honors as a freshman.

“It was very exciting,” Parker said. “That’s what I was hoping. I hope I can repeat that same performance this year.”

“Our team is a lot stronger this year,” said sophomore Abigail Schifferle, who finished 13th in the foil competition. “My personal goal this season is to make it to the championships.”

The Owls look to continue their momentum as they head to State College, Pa., for the Penn State Garret Open on Nov. 17.

Joe Polinsky can be reached at jpolinsky@temple.edu.

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