Without her older brother, senior sabre Lauren Rangel-Friedman would not be fencing.
When Rangel-Friedman was 11 years old, she began attending her brother’s fencing practices and tournaments. There, she developed a passion for the sport, despite an unfavorable first impression.
“I thought it was boring,” Rangel-Friedman said.
So Rangel-Friedman switched from foil, her brother’s weapon, to sabre. The weapon appealed to her inner-child, she said, and helped her enjoy the sport.
“I thought it was awesome. … I got to hack people’s limbs off,” Rangel-Friedman joked.
Now in her final year at Temple, Rangel-Friedman is embarking on a new challenge – being the team and sabre squad captain.
When she was voted into the position by her teammates this past summer, Rangel-Friedman said she knew that not only would her role increase, but she would have to embrace the challenge of being the face of the team.
“There is a difference in how you engage people as the captain,” Rangel-Friedman said. “You hold yourself and others to a higher standard.”
For Rangel-Friedman, the dual captaincy yields more responsibility than she has ever taken on as a fencer. In previous seasons, she didn’t have to be precise with words and actions. But now, being the leader, the team will be looking to her for guidance.
“But I kind of just looked at it as a growing experience, taking on such a big leadership position,” Rangel-Friedman said. “Also, there is a big adjustment being responsible for everyone on the team, not just yourself.”
Yet, because of previous captains, Rangel-Friedman said she is ready to take on the challenge. Tasia Ford, who graduated from Temple in May, was the team’s captain for the last two seasons and now lives with Rangel-Friedman. Ford has been a source of leadership for the newly-elected captain.
“She has guided me, in terms of what it is like and that definitely helped prepare me,” Rangel-Friedman said.
With the example set by Ford and previous captains, Rangel-Friedman has seen how she needed to evolve in order to be able to lead. As an underclassman, Rangel-Friedman was quiet and passive. But now as a senior, she is willing to speak her mind.
“Getting used to that, maybe you won’t be on friendly terms with everyone on the team, but it is part of your responsibility,” Rangel-Friedman said.
Her transition to leadership has not gone unnoticed. Sophomore Fatima Largaespada, who is the foil squad captain, has observed how much Rangel-Friedman has stepped up this year.
“She is a very passive person, but when it comes to fencing, I can see how aggressive she becomes,” Largaespada said.
Coach Nikki Franke has also noticed how Rangel-Friedman has changed her nature so she can lead.
“Lauren has always been quiet,” Franke said. “That is her personality. But she realizes what kind of changes she needs to make in order to be an effective leader.”
“You don’t have to be a ‘rah-rah’ type person,” she added. “You can lead by example, which is what she does. You can also be a vocal leader and you need to have some of that. You can’t be all one or the other.”
Michael Guise can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on twitter @MikeG2511