April 13, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Three representatives of the University of Notre Dame fencing team helped close out a historic Junior World Championships in Moscow, Russia, for Team USA, claiming four of the USA’s 12 medals at the event. Incoming freshman and Olympic hopeful Lee Kiefer led the way with an individual bronze in women’s foil and a silver medal in the team event.
The U.S. team’s 12-medal finish included nine individual medalists – more than any other nation at the event – and put Team USA just behind host Russia’s 14 overall medal count.
For Kiefer, her road to bronze began in the round of 64 where she defeated Venezuela’s Geiglys Mendoza, 15-8. She then reached the quarterfinals after securing a pair of victories over Korea’s Jiaxin Huang (15-8) and Canada’s Alanna Goldie (15-8). Kiefer then faced off with U.S. teammate Nzingha Prescod in the table of eight, holding on for a 15-11 victory before falling to Italy’s Camilla Mancini in the semifinals, 15-13, to bring her run to an end.
Kiefer then teamed up with Prescod as well as fellow Americans Jackie Dubrovich and Margaret Lu to claim the silver in the team competition. The squad advanced into the championship bout after posting three convincing wins over Ukraine (45-16), Germany (45-13) and Russia (45-34). Team USA ran into Italy in the gold medal match, falling by a 45-34 count to the team that placed 1-2-3 in the individual draw.
Fellow Olympic hopeful Race Imboden turned in a solid performance in men’s foil at the Championships. After finishing 13th overall in the individual draw, Imboden turned his attention to the team draw and helped the U.S. earn its third straight gold medal. After a relatively easy opening match against Brazil (45-22), the American squad held on for close victories over both Korea (45-36) and Italy (45-42) before discarding Russia in the title bout, 45-36, for the gold.
Freshman Ashley Severson, a 2012 NCAA Championship participant for the Irish, rounded out the triumvirate of Irish representatives to compete at the Junior Worlds, competing in the team draw of women’s epee.
After advancing past Switzerland in the opening round (45-26) and Poland in the quarterfinal (45-36), the American’s ran into eventual gold medalist Russia in the semifinals, falling by a 45-35 count to move the team into the bronze medal match. Team USA had a close fight with Estonia, but with the score at 38-35 the Americans won seven of the next 10 touches to hold on for the 45-41 victory and the bronze medal.
With the Junior World Championships now in the past, Severson, Imboden and Kiefer, as well as a select contingent of additional Irish fencers turn their attention to the USFA National Championships. Joining the three Junior World medalists will be current fencers Michael Rossi (men’s epee), Courtney Hurley (women’s epee), Nickolas Kubik (men’s foil), Gerek Meinhardt (men’s foil), Rachel Beck (women’s foil), Grace Hartman (women’s foil), Radmila Sarkisova (women’s foil), Madison Zeiss (women’s foil) and Kevin Hassett (men’s sabre) as well as former Irish fencer Kelley Hurley (women’s epee).
Competition begins Friday in Virginia Beach, Va., with men’s epee and women’s sabre taking to the strip. Women’s epee and men’s foil begins fencing Saturday and women’s foil and men’s sabre concludes the tournament Sunday. Results of the event can be found via usfencingresults.com.