The future of the Temple fencing program will be on display at the Junior Olympics Saturday in Columbus, Ohio.
Freshmen Jeanne Browne and Katrina Najm and sophomore Sarah Forsythe qualified for the competition. The Junior Olympics is a competition for athletes under the age of 20. Participants have to qualify at a meet beforehand to compete in the tournament.
Both Najm and Browne are newcomers to the foil competition. Both were epee fencers before coming to Temple. They comprise half of the young foil squad on team, with only one upper classmen fencing along side of them.
Though they are very much the future of the team, there is no pressure among the two up and coming athletes.
“I don’t really feel like there’s a weight on my shoulders,” Browne said. “Everyone’s there to help each other.”
Forsythe is the lone competitor from the Temple epee squad. She assumes the role of veteran in this trio.
“I feel like this meet will be a stepping stone for the rest of the season,” she said.
For Forsythe and the Najm, this will be the second and last year to fence in the Junior Olympics. Although, much of this meet is made up of high school students, Forsythe doesn’t see it as an easy competition.
“It’s still very intense and still very competitive,” Forsythe said.
Said Najm: “This is another experience for us to get better during the season.”
The women’s under-20 foil competition will be held on Sunday, while the women’s under-20 epee competition will be held on Monday. Najm will compete on Sunday, Forsythe will compete Monday, and Browne will compete both days.
Thus far, the Temple trio has exhibited great progress, pointing towards a bright future for all three athletes.
“I feel like I have a little bit of an advantage because I’ve been fencing against college fencers,” Najm said. ” I feel confidant about doing well in this competition.”
The Owls (16-3) are currently ranked tenth in the nation. Their next meet after the Junior Olympics is Feb. 23 at the University of Pennsylvania, pitting them against four ranked teams: Columbia, Penn State, St. John’s and Cornell.