What is Fencing?
Fencers compete on a six-feet-by-40-feet strip and score points by attacking their opponent with one of three weapons: the foil, epee and sabre.
Foil and epee weapons are point-thrusting weapons. Sabre is a point-thrusting and cutting weapon. Touches with the weapons are so fast that points are scored electronically.
Foil – Weighs less than one pound with a flexible rectangular blade approximately 35 inches in length. The target area is the torso, from the shoulders to the groin. The target area does not include arms, neck, head and legs. Foil fencer wears a lame, which is metallic vest that covers the scoring area, to electronically record points.
Epee – The epee is the descendant of the deuling sword. It weighs approximately 27 ounces and is about the same length as the foil. Points are scored with only the point of the blade. The entire body is a target. The blade has a spring-loaded tip at the end, which scores points when it is depressed passed a pressure of 750 grams.
Sabre – The sabre is a modern version of slashing calvary swords. The sabre is a thrusting weapon and a cutting weapon. The target area is from the bend of the hips to the top of the head. The target area is meant to simulate a calvary rider on a horse. Sabre participants also wear a lame and also wear a helmet with a metallic covering, since the head is a valid target area.
Information courtesy of the U.S. Fencing Association. For more information visit www.usfencing.org.
There is more to a book than its cover. Such is the case with the Temple women’s fencing team. With one of the most reputable records in college fencing and an exemplary coaching staff, the Lady Owls head into another season with a new composition.
Temple lost Gina DeIeso and last year’s Temple female athlete of the year Jaime Beecher. Without them, there is a key loss of depth, especially in the weapon of foil, but coaches Nikki Franke and Zoila Palacio were able to bring together a strong recruiting class who all have prior experience in the sport.
Jeanne Browne, Amanda Gerwer, Kera Luckhardt, Katrina Najm, Nnennaya Okoro and Samantha Parker are all new additions to the team.
Last year, Temple finished 19-4 overall, sweeping the NIWFA’s (National Intercollegiate Women’s Fencing Association) and sending five fencers to the NCAA’s championship’s. Temple competes in the NIWFA Christmas Invitational on Sunday in Teaneck, N.J.
The majority of this year’s strength, however, will come from their returning members of the fencing team. In the weapon of foil are sophomore Nerita Brumell and senior Stephanie Izzolino. Foil is the weakest of the weapons on Temple’s squad this season, in terms of depth.
“They clearly are the youngest squad, but they have the most potential for growth,” Franke said.
One of the two returning athletes will have to step up this year and guide all of the new foilist toward what will be a season of rebuilding.
Returning to epee are senior Julia Korony and sophomores Sara Forsythe and Stephanie Sargeant. Korony, the lone senior in the squad, is expected to step up as the leader, but there is a good resource of talent coming from Sargeant and Forsythe.
In the sabre squad, the returning athletes are juniors Sakinah Shaahid and Nicole Macomber, sophomore Aziza Hassan, and senior Sara Ironman. The sabre team has definitely increased its depth in the past two years and could stand to be the squad to watch on this years’ team.
“The youth of the team; you don’t know how some of the underclassmen are going to handle the pressure,” Franke said. “This is a very different level for them. The second concern is the loss of key leadership. We didn’t quite know what we were going to have.”
At the annual Temple Open on Nov. 3-4, these concerns were echoed by the performances of the Lady Owls. Each weapon produced a finalist, but there is still work to be done.
The remaining meets on the schedule will hopefully produce a good indication of how the teams’ new dynamic will hold up in championship season.
“The schedule is definitely going to be a challenge for the team,” Franke said. “It’s a good strong schedule. It definitely will give us a good sense of where they are in preparation for the post season.”
With a lot to work toward, the Lady Owls will look to prove that they are more than just a young team, they are a young team with the opportunity to win big.