April 15, 2008
ACIREALE, Italy – Notre Dame sophomore fencer Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) will be taking home a second gold medal from the 2008 Junior World Championships as the United States women’s epee team was victorious on Sunday, April 13. Earlier in the week, Hurley won gold in the individual epee competition.
The two gold medals have been part of a successful month-long run for Hurley. In March, she captured the NCAA women’s epee title in Columbus, Ohio. Hurley also locked up her spot in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China last month.
Hurley will be participating as an individual competitor at the Olympic Games since there is no team competition in the women’s epee. However, she will be competing with the United States women’s epee squad at the World Championships, which are being held April 18-20 in Beijing. Joining Hurley on the team will be her sister Courtney, who was also on the gold-medal winning unit at the Junior World Championships.
In addition to Hurley’s accomplishments this past week at the Junior World Championships, Notre Dame freshman Barron Nydam (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.) was a member of the United States men’s sabre team that placed fourth. Fellow Fighting Irish freshman Ewa Nelip (Katowice, Poland) and her Poland squad placed ninth at the competition.
Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.), a Notre Dame letter-of-intent signee that will begin fencing for the Irish next season, won gold with U.S. men’s foil squad. Meinhardt will also be competing at the World Championships next weekend in Beijing along with his U.S. foil teammates.
Women’s Team Epee
The United States team of Kelley Hurley, Courtney Hurley, Susannah Scanlon and Emily D’Agostino were seeded third in the 25-team competition, based on the results of the top three fencers in the individual championship. After a first-round bye, the USA faced Spain in the round of 16. Kelley started the U.S. off to a 5-3 lead against Monica Cid (bronze medalist in the individual), which they never relinquished. Scanlon and Courtney extended the lead to 15-7 after three rounds, and Scanlon fenced Cid to a scoreless draw. Kelley battled Paula FernÃƒÂ¡ndez PÃƒÂ©rez to a 7-7 draw in round 5, and Courtney then defeated Lorien Golguera 8-1 to make the overall score 30-15 in the Americans’ favor. Kelley finished out the match by outscoring Folguera 5-4 in the final round, to make the final score 45-29.
In the quarterfinal, the U.S. faced 11th seed China, a 45-43 upset winner over a Polish team featuring Irish freshman Ewa Nelip. The quarterfinal was a tight, strategic affair, with the largest lead a scant two touches. Courtney Hurley delivered the key bouts, cutting a three-point deficit to two in Round 5 against Ma Jing and defeating Xu Anqi 7-5 in the final round to defeat China 25-24. Kelley fenced three tactical bouts, losing 1-0 to Ma, drawing 3-3 against Xu, and drawing 1-1 against Sun Yujie in her final bout, setting the table for her sister to win the match.
Team USA faced second-seeded Estonia in the semi-final. This time, the key bouts were delivered by Kelley. She started the match with a 1-0 win in Round 1 against Julia Zuikova, followed by a 4-0 round against Nelli Paju in Round 5, to give the U.S. a 13-12 lead. Courtney increased the lead to 17-14 in round 6 against Julia Beljajeva. In the final round, Kelley faced Erika Kirpu (7th in the individual), with a 23-21 lead. Kelley held her own in a high-scoring final round, giving the USA a hard-fought 39-38 win.
The final saw the USA face top-seeded Italy. Courtney and Kelley gave the USA an early 10-7 lead, against Carolina Buzzi (14th place) and Giulia Rizzi (6th place), respectively. Scanlon held fifth-place finisher Marizia Muroni to a 1-0 victory, and Courtney kept the U.S. ahead against Rizzi, with the lead shrunk to 16-15. Scanlon then extended the lead to 21-17 against Buzzi, but Muroni narrowed it to 24-22 against Kelley. Scanlon then broke the match open, defeating Rizzi 6-2, and making it a 30-24 lead for team USA. Courtney extended the lead to 34-27 against Muroni, before Kelley closed it out against Buzzi, winning 11-9, and earning a 45-36 win and a team title for the United States.
With the team title, Kelley Hurley completed her 2008 double of individual and team world junior titles, and her cadet (under-17) world championship in 2005.
Nelip led the sixth-seeded Poles into the team event, facing 11th seeded China in the round of 16. The Chinese had defeated Hong Kong 45-21 in their first round match. Nelip fenced well, defeating Sun 5-3 to start the match, and extending the Polish lead to 20-16 in her second match against Ma. She faced Xu in the next-to-last bout, beating her 5-4, and giving Poland a 40-37 lead. However, Sun defeated Renata Knapik 8-3 in the last match to give the Chinese a 45-43 win. Poland finished ninth, while the Chinese finished eighth after their subsequent loss to the USA.
Men’s Team Foil
The United States team of Gerek Meinhardt, Zain Shaito, Nicholas Chinman, and Miles Chamley-Watson were seeded seventh of 26 teams. They comfortably defeated 26th-seeded Kuwait 45-23 in their first round match, setting up a round of 16 match with the 10th-seeded Netherlands. In the round of 16, the U.S. defeated the Netherlands 45-30, with Meinhardt, Shaito, and Chinman contributing equally to the effort.
In the quarterfinal, team USA battled the second-seeded team from the Russian Federation. Chinman started the match by outlasting bronze medalist Dmitry Zherebchenko 4-2 in Round 1. After Shaito lost to Dmitry Komissarov 4-2 to tie the match at 6-6, Meinhardt beat Artur Akhmatkhuzin (sixth in the individual) 7-4 to give the Americans a 13-10 lead. Chinman and Meinhardt extended the lead to 29-22 after seven rounds, with wins over Akhmatkhuzin (8-5) and Komissarov (4-1), respectively. Chinman closed out the match by defeating Komissarov 7-6, for a 45-42 upset victory.
The semifinal saw the U.S. battle sixth-seeded France, who had upset third-seeded Korea in the quarterfinals. Meinhardt, Shaito, and Chinman broke out to a 20-10 lead after four bouts, and then outpaced the French for a 45-32 win.
The final matched the United States against top-seeded Italy. Chinman gave the Americans the lead after the third round, defeating silver medalist Tommaso Lari 8-2, and turning a 10-7 deficit into a 15-12 lead. Shaito extended the lead to 20-16 against eighth-place finisher Tobia Biondo, but Meinhardt struggled against Lari, losing 9-2, and giving the Italians a 25-22 lead. Chinman narrowed the deficit to 30-28 against ninth-place finisher Martino Minuto, and Shaito beat Lari 7-4 to give the Americans a 35-34 lead. Chinman concluded his stellar final by beating Biondo 5-2, and extending the lead to 40-36. Meinhardt closed out the match against Minuto, giving the USA a 45-42 victory and the gold medal.
Men’s Team Sabre
The U.S. team of Daniel Bak, Daryl Homer, Jeff Spear, and Barron Nydam was seeded sixth in the 25-team sabre competition. After a first-round bye, they faced 11th seed Spain, which defeated Kuwait 45-37 in the first round. The Americans never trailed, and defeated Spain 45-39.
In the quarterfinal, the Americans faced third-seed Canada. Bak, Spear, and new starter Nydam combined to give team USA a 15-8 lead after three rounds, highlighted by Nydam’s 5-2 win over bronze medalist Vincent Couturier, and cruised to a surprising 45-25 win. Nydam, Spear, and Bak defeated Couturier by a 15-5 margin to pace the Americans.
In the semifinal, the United States faced second-seed Hungary. Spear and Homer gave the U.S. a 10-7 lead after two rounds, but Csaba Gall overpowered Bak 8-1 to give the Hungarians a 15-11 lead that they would never relinquish. Nydam came on to replace Bak in the eighth round with the USA trailing 35-20, but he fell to bronze medalist Nikolasz Iliasz 5-1, leaving the Americans staring at an almost-insurmountable 40-21 deficit. Spear gamely fought sixth-place finisher Aron Szilaghyi, beating him 8-5, but the result was sufficient for Hungary to win by a comfortable 45-29 margin.
Team USA then faced Germany for the bronze medal. After Spear defeated Marlon Hirzmann 5-3, Benedikt Wagner defeated Homer 8-2 to give the Germans a 10-7 lead that they held the rest of the way. Nydam battled Max hartung to a 5-5 draw, and beat Hirzmann 7-5 before losing to Wagner 5-3 in his last bout. Hirzmann clinched the bronze for Germany by beating Homer 5-1 in the final round, making the score 45-35.