Not many coaches can boast what Nikki Franke can.
The women’s fencing coach tallied her 700th win last Sunday at the Sacred Heart Tradition Tournament.
Franke’s team went 3-1, getting her the 700th win of her career and she ended the meet with a career record of 702-197-1, with all of those wins coming at Temple.
Over her 43 seasons at Temple, Franke has had a surplus of quality squads and acknowledges all of the hard work her women have put in.
“It is a great accomplishment,” Franke said. “[700 wins] is something that most coaches don’t have and I appreciate having the opportunity that Temple has given me. This comes as a result of all of the hard work of all of my teams. It is nice to take a step back to appreciate the women who have come through this program.”
This number of wins does not come without continued dedication and focus by her teams.
Attracting recruits to a program is important and Franke has done that well, donned by her record. The recruits gave it their all and Franke credits the women and their dedication.
“Hard work,” Franke said. “Recruiting athletes that want to improve and who don’t mind putting in that hard work. That’s what [hard work] is all about.”
On a day in which the Owls would face some of the top women’s fencing programs in the nation, the team’s performance showed it belongs among those top teams by finishing with a 3-1 record.
The Owls only loss came against Harvard − which boasts strong squad with last year’s Sabre national champion.
Leading the way were junior foilist Fatima Largaespada and sophomore epeeist Rachael Clark.
Clark ended up with a 7-1 record and Largaespada finished with a 7-2 record, respectively.
Finishing with such a strong record in a highly competitive event is important, Clark knew the team would be ready.
“We felt really prepared and strong,” Clark said. “We were prepared and we are getting along well as a team and we are in sync.”
With strong performances from all of her athletes, Franke was happy with the production from her team.
“I was pleased with the performance in our first team competition this semester,” Franke said. “It was a good start for us, and it was good to see the girls fighting. They worked well together and were focused.”
The Sacred Heart Tradition Tournament was the first dual meet for the Owls and with quite a few newcomers finding out what team competition is like is important.
“It was important for us to get off to a good start,” Franke said. “Especially for our newcomers to see what team competition was like. We have a long season ahead of us, we are just getting started and we also are looking for continued improvement as the season rolls on so we can peak when the post season comes.”
Despite having a really solid day on the floors of competition, Franke was unhappy with one aspect of the day.
Reacting quickly and adjusting to your opponent is key to getting points and the young Owls struggled.
“We need to make adjustments a little bit sooner,” Franke said. “Our adjustments were late and we need to make them sooner, but that comes with experience.”
After a long day of competition, that involved a lot of focus, the No. 9 Owls feel like they are where they need to be.
Finishing strong against strong competition makes you feel like you belong, exactly what Clark believes.
“This helps our confidence a lot,” Clark said. “It makes us feel good, [our performance] really shows how good of a squad we are.”
Dalton Balthaser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @DaltonBalthaser.