Senior Krystal Jones picks up her fencing career after hiatus.
Taking three years off of a sport and returning to play it at the Division-I level is nearly unheard of.
That is exactly what senior epee squad member Krystal Jones is doing for the fencing team. Krystal Jones joins the team for her senior year after a three-year layoff after last competing in the sport during high school.
A Teaneck, N.J. High School product, where she helped lead the Highwaymen to second place at districts along with teammate and now senior sabre squad captain Kamali Thompson. Krystal Jones attended the University of Massachusetts for her freshman year, but did not fence for the Minutewomen due to their lack of a Division-I program.
“Massachusetts didn’t have a [Division-I team] and it was expensive to join the club team,” Krystal Jones said. “Also being far away from home was an adjustment for me so I really focused on college life and being a student in my first semester.”
After a semester at UMASS Jones decided to come to Temple, but did not choose to fence even though Temple has a nationally ranked Disivion-I program and her sister Danielle Jones was on the team. Danielle Jones is now a senior foil squad member.
During the past summer something changed.
Krystal Jones bumped into fencing coach Nikki Franke during the summer and the two began to talk about Temple’s fencing program. This led Krystal Jones to join the fencing team, but not without hard work first, Franke said.
“[Krystal Jones] started in the summer, she switched weapons from the one she used in high school, so that meant she worked even harder then she normally would’ve,” Franke said. “I have been pleased with her progress, she understands what she has to do for this team.”
Franke said Krystal Jones will be a crucial member of the epee squad.
“[Krystal Jones] will be a key in the epee bouts, we want consistent improvement from meet to meet out of her,” Franke said. “She’ll definitely contribute to the team.”
Danielle Jones was adamant about the team chemistry that the Owls possess this year that other teams seem to lack.
“We’re always really close, I really like having people I know,” Danielle Jones said. “[Thompson] and I made it easy on one another when we were freshmen, now it is our turn to do that for Krystal [Jones].”
The trio of Teaneck High School alumnae are looking forward to their last year of competition, especially Danielle Jones.
“I like having [Krystal Jones] around,” Danielle Jones said. “It’s our last time that we can do this together after fencing here with my older sister [Kristine Jones] earlier in my career.”
“It’s nice to have another family member around as a senior,” Danielle Jones added. “I just wish she came out for the foil with my squad rather than epee.”
Anthony Bellino can be reached at email@example.com.