Freshman epee Margherita Calderaro has brought a “wealth of experience” in her first season with Temple University fencing, coach Nikki Franke said.
When being recruited during her senior year of high school, Franke told Calderaro she could attend international competitions while also competing with the Owls.
No other Temple fencer has competed internationally during the NCAA fencing season.
On Nov. 16, 2019, while the Owls were competing at the Penn Elite Meet, Calderaro was competing at an under-20 World Cup event in Italy.
To keep her Italian ranking and attend future international competitions, Calderaro needed to attend this specific competition.
“It’s not always easy to make these types of decisions,” Calderaro said. “But thanks to the support and help from my coaches, family and teammates, I have been able to do well so far.”
Calderaro competed with Club Scherma Roma before joining Temple’s team. She finished in sixth place at the 2019 Junior Italian Championship Finals, third at the 2019 Italian Regional and second at the 2018 Cadet Italian Championship Finals.
“I was impressed when I saw her fence for the first time, and after we had several conversations, felt she would be a good fit for us,” Franke said. “Her international experience and results were consistently improving, and she’s very dedicated.”
Calderaro learned to fence because of her father, Michele, who was a modern pentathlete, practicing five different sports: fencing, swimming, horseback riding, shooting and running. Her father signed her up for fencing lessons with his pentathlete friends, she said.
Stefano Giommoni, Calderaro’s coach in Italy, taught her the “secret to growth” is “la voglia,” which means “the want,” she said.
“La voglia” is part of the reason she decided to come to an American university, so she could go to school and fence, she added.
“Fencing in Italy is more of an individual sport,” Calderaro said. “It is not as much of a team sport like at American universities, even though all the people that I have met at Club Scherma Roma are very close friends of mine.”
Volunteer assistant coach Melissa Forsythe works primarily with the team’s epees.
“[Calderaro] came in as a good fencer but has really improved in the time that she’s been here,” Forsythe said. “She’s had to adjust to a new coach, which is tough when you’ve only had one coach your whole fencing career, like she has, but it’s been an adjustment she’s dealt with well.”
“La voglia” is still Calderaro’s secret to growing as an athlete.
“I give my best at everything, at practice, in school and in competitions,” Calderaro said. “I never do anything without putting 100-percent effort into it. With all the effort I put into practicing and getting ready for a competition, I’m quite confident in my abilities.”