Courtney Hurley retained her USA Fencing Division I National Championship title after beating her sister Kelley Hurley, 15-14

Courtney Hurley Claims USA Fencing Division I National Championship Gold

April 21, 2011

PORTLAND, Ore. – Junior Courtney Hurley, a member of the national champion Notre Dame fencing team, claimed gold in women’s epee at the recently completed USA Fencing Division I National Championship. Incoming freshman Race Imboden also topped the podium, holding off the rest of the field to capture the title in men’s foil.

Hurley and Imboden were two of the 21 members of the current or upcoming Irish roster to head to Portland for the Championships. Of the 21 entrants, 10 earned top-10 results in their respective weapon including three of the top five spots in men’s foil going the way of Notre Dame.

Hurley advanced out of pool play with a record of 5-1 with a +11 indicator to earn a bye in the table of 64. She moved into the quarterfinals with a 15-3 win over Amy Orlando and a 15-8 decision over Francesca Bassa. The junior then turned in a dominant quarterfinal win over Isis Washington (15-4) before dispatching Holly Buechel in the semifinals (15-9) to set up a matchup with sister and former Irish epeeist Kelley Hurley.

Courtney led throughout the bout, but Kelley came back to tie the score at 14. With one more touch needed for either sister to win the gold, Courtney scored again and successfully defended her 2010 National title.

Ashley Severson, another incoming freshman for Notre Dame, finished sixth at the Championships. She advanced out of pool play with a 5-1 mark and a +8 indicator. Severson advanced into the quarterfinals with wins over Valerie Asher (15-7) and Natalie Vie (15-12) before falling to Buechel (15-11).

The third incoming freshman for the Irish, Nik Nik Ameli, also competed in epee, earning a 23rd-place result. She finished with a pool play record of 3-3 and a +4 indicator, but fell to Cassidy Luitjen in the table of 32, 15-13.

In men’s foil, Imboden moved out of pool play with a perfect record of 5-0 and a +15 indicator to enter direct elimination as the second overall seed. He defeated Sherif Farrag (15-4) and Brendan Meyers (15-8) to earn his spot in the quarterfinals. Once there, Imboden fenced two bouts against his soon-to-be teammates.

In the quarters, he held on for a close 15-12 victory over NCAA gold medalist Ariel DeSmet. Imboden then defeated Alexander Massialas, 15-12, to set up a matchup with ’10 NCAA foil gold medalist Gerek Meinhardt, who returned to competition for the first time since suffering a knee injury before the season. Imboden’s final against Meinhardt remained close throughout as the clock wore down and the score was tied at 13.

“It was a crucial moment in the bout and I buckled down and made sure I started my actions quickly and got my point on,” Imboden said.

The gold medal win was not only Imboden’s first podium finish at the Division I National Championships, but it also marked the first time he advanced past the table of 16 at the event.

Meinhardt was the fourth overall seed in direct elimination after going 5-1 with a +14 indicator in pool play. He advanced into the finals with wins over Stephen Mageras (15-13) in the quarterfinals and Kurt Getz (15-12) in the semifinals before falling to Imboden. DeSmet, meanwhile, advanced to the table of eight with wins over Alex Chiang (15-7) and W.M. Micah El-Saleh (15-11).

Also competing in men’s foil were Steve and Nick Kubik, who finished in 37th and 44th, respectively.

Women’s foil also saw five current Irish members take to the strip, with Hayley Reese earning the highest finish of the bunch with her eighth-place result. She earned her spot in the quarterfinals with wins over Ashley Tsue (15-11) and Morgan Partridge (14-11) before falling to Nzingha Prescod (15-6).

Rachel Beck ended in 19th place, while Grace Hartman, Darsie Malynn and Radmila Sarkisova finished 21st, 28th and 39th, respectively.

Only two entrants took to the strip for the Irish in women’s sabre, with both Sarah Borrmann (eighth) and Lian Osier (ninth) earning top-10 finishes. Borrmann advanced to the table of eight with wins over Skyla Powers (15-10) and a one-touch victory over Essane Diedro (15-14) but then fell to Sarah Pak (15-8) in the quarterfinals.

Osier, meanwhile, advanced out of pool play with a perfect 6-0 record with a +15 indicator but was upset by Erica Zhao in the round of 16, 15-14.

Men’s sabre saw five members compete, with Avery Zuck earning the highest finish with a tie for third. The senior defeated Jeff Spear in the quarterfinals, 15-11, to set up a rematch with NCAA gold medalist Daryl Homer, who defeated Zuck 15-14 for the title. Zuck took Homer to the limit yet again, but fell to his rival by an identical 15-14 score in the semifinals.

Keith Feldman just missed out on the quarterfinals, falling to eventual champion Timothy Morehouse (15-6) in the table of 16. Jason Choy, Alexander Coccia and Kevin Hassett finished in 11th, 28th and 46th, respectively.

James Kaull rounded out the members of the Irish to compete at the Championships, serving as the lone Notre Dame men’s epeeist. Kaull finished in 25th place after finishing pool play with a record of 3-2 with a +1 indicator. In direct elimination, he earned a bye into the round of 32 but fell to Teddy Sherrill, 13-7, to conclude his tournament.

Notre Dame 2011 USA Fencing National Championship Results:
Men's Foil:1. Race Imboden2. Gerek Meinhardt5. Ariel DeSmet37. Steve Kubik44. Nickolas Kubik
Men's Sabre:3. Avery Zuck9. Keith Feldman11. Jason Choy28. Alexander Coccia46. Kevin Hassett
Men's Epee:25. James Kaull
Women's Foil:8. Hayley Reese19. Rachel Beck21. Grace Hartman28. Darsie Malynn39. Radmila Sarkisova
Women's Sabre:8. Sarah Borrmann9. Lian Osier
Women's Epee:1. Courtney Hurley6. Ashley Severson23. Nik Nik Ameli