PDX Fencing sabre club in Oregon is pipeline to Temple

Temple has had four fencers from PDX Fencing since 2012.

Sophomore sabre Kerry Plunkett (background) watches while sophomore sabre Malia Hee (right) and freshman sabre Eva Hinds fence during practice on Friday in the Student Pavilion. | JAMIE COTTRELL / THE TEMPLE NEWS
Sophomore sabre Kerry Plunkett (background) watches while sophomore sabre Malia Hee (right) and freshman sabre Eva Hinds fence during practice on Friday in the Student Pavilion. | JAMIE COTTRELL / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Eva Hinds said attending Temple was a “no brainer” when her club teammates, sophomore sabres Malia Hee and Kerry Plunkett, made their commitments to the university in 2015.

Hinds, a freshman sabre, was then a junior at the Portland Waldorf School in Oregon. Hinds, Hee and Plunkett fenced for PDX Fencing in Beaverton, Oregon, together for about seven or eight years, Hinds said.

Hee and Plunkett reached out to Hinds before she officially chose Temple and swayed her decision. Now, the three PDX Fencing alumnae are reunited at Temple. Hinds feels at home.

“I knew if we had a chance to be on the same team, we could be really great,” Hinds said.

“I knew we could make each other stronger fencers, and I wanted that kind of relationship wherever I went,” she added.

PDX Fencing is an all-sabre club that coach Nikki Franke had recruited from before finding Hee, Plunkett and Hinds. Petra Khan, who posted a 121-84 record at Temple from 2012-16, also attended the club.

“The familiarity with that club helped us get those three here,” Franke said. “Me and their coach have a great relationship. Their fencers are very well trained and composed coming up to the college level. And that really applies to the three we have here currently.”

Khan had some influence on the fencers’ decisions to come to Temple. While she attended Temple, Khan stayed in contact with Charles Randall, the coach and founder of PDX Fencing.

Randall relayed this to the current crop of PDX fencers, which pushed them closer to committing to Temple.

“She had nothing but great things to say about the city, the program and more importantly the impact coach Franke had on her as a person and a fencer,” Randall said. “And my fencers definitely knew about all the great feelings she had toward Temple.”

During the recruiting process, Plunkett and Hee said Randall was a big influence on their decision to come to Temple. Plunkett said Randall showed a “sincere sense of passion” toward the fencing program and Franke.

Randall said he likes to send his fencers to Temple because of Franke’s “demeanor” and passion for her athletes and the sport of fencing. Randall appreciates how she builds her fencers as people.

“With my fencers, I try to leave an impact on them outside of just fencing technique,” Randall said. “You can’t have every fencer be exactly the same, and I think coach Franke does a great job of realizing what she has with a certain fencer and then using her knowledge to get the best out of them.”

Hee, Hinds and Plunkett combined to go 30-7 on Saturday in the first day of the Philadelphia Invitational. They helped the Owls win seven of 10 matches in two days and improve to 14-6.

At the Vassar Traditional Meet to open dual meet play on Dec. 3, Hinds and Hee posted records of 10-1 and 9-2, respectively. Plunkett posted the strongest sabre record at 7-3 during the Penn State Invitational on Jan. 14.

As a freshman, Hee had a 70-13 record, which earned her the record for single season wins by a sabre at Temple. Hee also won the individual sabre competition at the Penn State Garret Open in November 2016.

Plunkett fell one win short of Hee during their freshman season by posting a record of 69-23. Plunkett placed 19th in the NCAA Championship sabre competition.

Hinds, Hee and Plunkett believe Temple is the best school for them.

“Everything about Temple is going really well for us,” Hee said. “I think we all wanted to get an East Coast experience, and Philadelphia is a great place for that. We also have our own academic dreams, and Temple really went along with all of our goals moving forward in life.”

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