No. 7 Temple fencing continues 23-year title streak

Temple won yet another National Intercollegiate Women’s Fencing Association title on Saturday.

No. 7 Temple Fencing practices at the Student Pavilion on Jan. 19 in preparation for the Philadelphia Invitational. | JAMIE COTTRELL / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple University fencing won its 23rd consecutive National Intercollegiate Women’s Fencing Association title in Madison, New Jersey on Saturday.

Temple (25-8) bested second-place Johns Hopkins University and third-place Stevens Institute of Technology to finish first out of 13 teams. The foil and epee squads won squad titles, while the sabre squad earned second place.

“We had a lot of pride going into the tournament,” coach Nikki Franke said. “We were very happy to be able to defend the title and bring the trophy back to Temple. It was something that was very important to us. The team performed very well and took it very seriously.”

Two Temple fencers — junior sabre Kerry Plunkett and sophomore foil Marielle Luke — received NIWFA first-team honors. Plunkett won the individual sabre gold medal with a 15-1 score.

Luke made it to the individual epee championship but lost narrowly, 15-13, in the final bout.

“It was a very close match,” Franke said. “It could’ve gone either way. [Luke] being in a high-pressure situation is only going to help her as we continue into postseason tournaments.”

Senior epee Ally Micek finished sixth and earned NIWFA second-team honors. Freshman Aryana Abtin placed eighth in the foil competition

Senior sabre Jessica Rockford, sophomore epee Zahrah Dinkins and freshman foil Cassie Navalta were knocked out in the semifinals of their respective competitions.

The competition at the NIWFA Championship gave the team a preview of the competition that will be at regionals, Franke said.

“The competition helps,” Franke added. “As we get into these postseason tournaments, the pressure is a little bit different. Having this one under our belt will definitely help us next week.”

Temple’s next competition is the NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Regional on Saturday at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. The Owls will send 12 fencers, including Plunkett, junior sabre Malia Hee and junior foil Kennedy Lovelace.

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