Five fencers recorded Top 3 finishes, including Alyssa Lomuscio, who claimed the foil title.
The fencing team put the competition on notice at this year’s 30th annual Temple Fencing Open Saturday and Sunday at McGonigle Hall.
More than 600 fencers from 35 schools competed in the largest individual collegiate fencing meet in the nation, and the Owls placed five fencers in the Top 3 in all three types of weapons: the foil, epee and sabre.
Sophomore Alyssa Lomuscio won the foil title, beating out teammate and three-time All-American senior Melissa Parker.
In the epee, junior Grace Wu tied for third place with senior Kristin Howell, another All-American.
Sophomore Kamali Thompson took third for the Owls in the sabre.
Last year’s fencing squad finished eighth in the NCAA Tournament. Hall-of-Fame coach Nikki Franke, who is entering her 38th season at Temple, said the Temple Open marked a good start to the 2009-10 season.
“We are really looking forward to the season,” Franke said. “We have a deep team this year with a good mix of experienced players and new people on the team, who are working together very well. We expect good things.”
Howell expressed the team’s goals more frankly.
“We want to make Top 5 in the NCAA coach’s poll,” she said.
The Owls will certainly have that chance, as they boast one of the toughest schedules in the nation – they face seven of the Top 10 teams in the country in their upcoming meets.
Better competition means better results, and that is just what Franke said she wants.
“I think [the tough schedule] is going to help us,” Franke said. “We did a good job scheduling by being able to fence the best schools. We need strong competition to know what we need to do and where we stand. It’ll be a challenging season.”
To prepare for the season, the Owls have been practicing three hours a day every day and working on conditioning and weight training along with skill development with their respective weapons.
“Good athletes are conditioned athletes,” Franke said.
“The first hour, we do cardio and stretching either on the track or on machines,” Howell added. “The second hour, we do fencing-specific work drills, and the last hour, we fence against each other. The last half hour of practice, we go to the weight room.”
The Owls will put that preparation into practice in their next tournament Friday in Kansas City, Mo.
“I was pleased with the results [at the Temple Open],” Franke said. “We had finalists in every weapon. It is important for us to see the kind of strength we have this early in the season.”
Matthew Tumasz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.