Nov. 9, 2009
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Sophomore epeeist Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, TX/Earl Warren), freshman sabreist Lian Osier (Battle Ground, Wash./CAM High School) and sophomore foilist Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif./Lick-Wilmerding) took home gold medals at the second event of the 2009-10 North American Cup fencing series (NAC B), which concluded play on Monday, Nov. 9 at the Kansas City Convention and Entertainment Center.
With the three gold medals, Notre Dame head coach Janusz Bednarski boasts three of the top six finishers at the world-class event. For Hurley, it marks her second gold medal in as many weeks, having also won the gold medal at a Junior World Cup event that concluded on November 1 in Montreal, Canada.
Osier’s dominating performance in women’s sabre was even more impressive given that she is only a freshman. She won the championship bout over Columbus, Ohio native Miller, 15-10.
“Her win really showcases her talent level,” said Bednarski. “To get through the elite of the U.S. fencers in such a important event like the North America Cup B as a freshman, where hundreds of the best junior fencers were competing for places on the National Team, is an impressive feat.”
Meinhardt, a U.S. Olympian at the 2008 Games in Beijing, overcame a strong field of 182 competitors to take home the Under-20 men’s foil gold medal. In the end, his toughest competition may have been from his Irish teammate Enzo Castellani (Keller, Texas/Keller). The Irish duo clashed in one of the two semifinal bouts, with Meinhardt proving victorious by a slim 15-13 margin. Castellani finished tied for third to earn the bronze.
In addition to the performance of Meinhardt and Castellani, Irish assistant coach and foil specialist Gia Kvaratskhelia saw four of his women’s foilists finish in the top-40 out of a field of 122 participants, led by sophomore Radmila Sarkisova (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Central), who finished seventh overall. Hayley Reese (Crestwood, KY/Oldham County), last season’s NCAA women’s foil runner-up, finished 16th. She was directly followed in the standings by Irish freshman Grace Hartman (St. Paul, Minn./St. Paul Academy and Summit School), who finished 17th. Sophomore Darsie Malynn (Grapevine, TX/Colleyville Heritage HS) finished 38th.
Notre Dame assistant coach and epee specialist Marek Stepien not only saw success on the wpomen’s side with Hurley’s gold medal, but in men’s epee, he saw the Irish freshman duo of James Kaull (Washington D.C./Woodrow Wilson) and Jack Piasio (DuBois, Pa./Georgetown Prep) have strong showings as well. Kaull finished 11th and Piasio finished 26th out of 194 participants.
The four-day event was organized and run by the United States Fencing Association’s national governing body and featured the highest ranked fencers from the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
The Irish fencing team’s next collegiate event of the year will be the Penn State open, which is scheduled to take place on November 21 and 22. The women’s portion of the tournament will take place on the 21, with the men fencing on the 22.
— ND —