Melissa Parker knew fencing at Temple would be an interesting transition. The freshman Foilist said she has enjoyed the adjustment to the competitive atmosphere that the team provides.
“I like it, I like the change,” Parker said. “I’ve been fencing since I was five, and since then it has always been my thing.”
Parker fenced under her uncle, Ray Parker,
in Austin, Texas prior to attending Temple. Since competing for the Owls, Parker has already proven herself. She finished with a 6-1 record in Foil competition to help the Owls to five victories at the Temple Invitational Sunday.
Last November, she finished sixth in a field of 55 at the Penn State Open. Parker also competed in the United States Fencing Association’s North American Cup. There, she placed third out of 137 in the Junior Foil competition. Last month, Parker finished 8-3, which helped the Owls to a 6-1 victory at the Philadelphia Invitational. Parker said she attributes the team’s support for one another to the success that they have enjoyed this season.
“We’re always there for each other,” Parker said. “I think everyone on the team is contributing. The freshmen – there’s six of us – we stay together. And the upperclassmen are teaching us since this is our first year.”
Last season, three Owls advanced to the NCAA Championships.
Foilists Jenna Remmert and Brianna
Ferrara finished 16th and 18th, respectively. Nina Gernesova finished 23rd in Epee as the Owls finished 13th out of 22 teams.
Parker said she expects much from the team in the postseason this year.
“I think individually we’re going to place pretty high,” she said. “We’re competing against some really tough schools like Penn State and Ohio State. We have our work cut out for us, but I think we’ll manage.”
The Nittany Lions and the Buckeyes are ranked 1st and 6th respectively in the United States Fencing Coaches’ Association poll. The Owls are currently ranked No. 9. Parker said the team has been working
on improving its technique for the final stretch of the season.
“We’ve been competing and we’re a really
strong team,” Parker said. “Now, we can only get stronger.” The Owls hit the road Saturday to compete at the Drew Invitational. Postseason play will begin next month with the National Intercollegiate Women’s Fencing Association Championships March 3 and the NCAA Regional Championships March 10.
Melissa DiPento can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.