Quinn Duwelius took a step backward during a bout, like fencing players do. This time, she was immediately in pain.
The redshirt-junior epee tore her left ACL at the North American Cup in January and had to miss the rest of the season.
Duwelius has a 77-35 dual meet record at Temple, and once tied with the program’s all-time wins leader epee Safa Ibrahim during her sophomore year.
When Owls lost Duwelius — one of their top epee fencers from the 2016-17 season — the epee squad was left shorthanded, coach Nikki Franke said.
“From the time she was injured, she’s just worked relentlessly,” Franke said. “Hopefully, that hard work is going to pay off.”
Duwelius is expected to return in January. She is practicing intermittently with the team, while still completing the rehabilitation process for her knee.
“It’s kind of hard to be always sitting on the sidelines,” Duwelius said. “I try to keep myself as positive as possible. It’s hard to see them go off to competitions. I’m there, but I just can’t compete with them. I’m so close, yet so far away.”
Temple’s epee squad won 63.2 percent of its bouts in its six dual meets last season. The epee squad’s 24-14 record was its worst since the 2012-13 season. Duwelius went 5-4 in her only dual meet last season at Vassar’s Traditional Meet in December 2017. The epees amassed a 28-17 record, its third best of the season.
“It changed the depth we had,” Franke said. “[Duwelius] is a great leader. Not having her in there definitely weakened our epee squad.”
She feels she has been consistently improving since her arrival at Temple, despite the injury. Duwelius kicked off her junior year by finishing in a tie for third in the epee competition at the Temple Open and followed it with a 17th-place result at the Penn State Garret Open.
“I feel like a lot of people had a lot of high hopes for me going into the season because I finished the last season really strong,” Duwelius said. “I just try to keep a really positive outlook in it.”
Duwelius hasn’t fenced in competition since her injury. Despite this, she travels to competitions with the team and helps her teammates by being vocal on the sideline.
“They feed off my support a lot,” Duwelius said. “It’s been an adjustment period with me stepping off the strip and onto the sidelines. But I feel like with support I give, it helps keep my teammates going.”
Though Duwelius is going to return this season, she won’t have a chance to participate in a full season until 2019-20.
“This season is not my comeback season,” Duwelius said. “I don’t view it that way because I’m still delayed in the process. I’m still missing a huge chunk of the season. I’m just excited to see what I can do next year with the full opportunity.”