In the final regular season meet of her collegiate career, senior Samantha Myles finished with a perfect 8-0 performance in the Duke Multi-Meet Saturday, guiding the Owls to a 5-0 mark and first place finish overall at the event.
Along with seniors Marla Nacey and Brianna Ferrara, Myles, a four-year member and a co-captain on the team, helped the Owls bring home first place awards in the foil and epee competitions. The Owls finished the season with a 24-6 record.
The team has come a long way since the beginning of the season.
The squad looked “choppy” in their first meet, the Temple Open in November, Myles said
“The fencers weren’t sure of what they were doing but as time wore on, they became more confident in their abilities and in their potential,” the Snohomish, Wash.-native said.
Three sophomores will have the opportunity to reach their potential this weekend. Second-year fencers Melissa Parker, Abigail Schifferle and Kristin Howell represented the Owls at the Junior Olympics, a four-day event which began Friday in Charlotte.
“They all have a chance to medal. They just have to want it badly enough,” Myles said.
“We really support each other through thick and thin. Our goal is to stay focused” sophomore Christie Griffith added.
At the Duke meet, Griffith went 9-2, helping to lead Temple to a second-place finish in the sabre competition. A co-captain, she said the team “looks good” for next year.
“The fencers are gaining a lot of experience and we are going to be a smart team,” Griffith continued.
Key returnees for the Owls next season include Howell (epee), Parker (foil), Schifferle (foil) and juniors Kaitlyn Uckert (epee) and Sabrina Shapiro (foil).
The team has a “good atmosphere and a lot of energy,” Parker said.
Last season, Parker finished fifth in the NCAA Regional Championships, third in the USFA North American Cup and was a quarterfinalist in the NIWFA Championships. She also received an honorable mention All-American selection as a freshman last year.
“It was very exciting,” Parker said about the All-American selection. “That’s what I was hoping [for].”
Coach Nikki Franke said she was impressed with how the young squad “gelled as one.”
“[The team has shown] improvement in consistency, focus, determination and how to adjust to other fencers,” she said.
The next big team event is the NIFWA Championships held in New York City Feb. 23.
“I expect to see us to have the maximum number of qualifiers there,” Franke said. “We have dominated this tournament for many years and I expect this to continue.”
Joe Polinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.