(Budapest, Hungary) – On a day of upsets, the reigning World Champions fell to Italy in the quarter-finals, but the U.S. Women’s Epee Team rebounded to defeat two of the top teams in the world for fifth place on Sunday at the Senior World Championships.
The team of Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas), Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas), Kat Holmes (Washington, D.C.) and Kasia Nixon (Los Angeles, Calif.) entered the World Championships as the No. 1 seed, but found themselves trailing Italy, 16-12, after seven bouts. Courtney Hurley cut the damage to two with a 6-4 eighth against Alice Clerici, giving Holmes two touches at 20-18 to make up in the anchor bout against two-time individual Senior World Champion Rossella Fiamingo. Holmes scored the first single, but was unable to pick up another as the clock wore down. Both athletes doubled with 39 seconds left on the clock and a 21-20 score. Fiamingo took a single in the final 20 seconds and Holmes answered with another at 8.12. With the clock running down quickly, Holmes was forced to give chaase and Fiamingo picked up touches at the end of the strip to Holmes’ one as Italy took the 25-22 win.
On a day in which three of the top four seeds fell in the quarter-finals, the first match of the 5th – 8th place table pitted Team USA against Korea in a rematch of the 2018 Senior Worlds gold medal final. Korea led for much of the bout and Holmes returned to the anchor bout with one touch to make up against Young Mi Kang – the same fencer who handed Holmes an overtime loss in the 32 in the individual event on Thursday. This time, it was Holmes who would come out ahead, taking the bout, 10-6, and leading Team USA to a 34-31 victory.
In the match for fifth place against Estonia, the 2018 Senior World Champions, Kelley Hurley led the team in scoring with a +4 indicator to help create a 23-20 cushion for Holmes going into the final bout against Katrina Lehis. Holmes built on the lead, besting Lehis, 12-10, as Team USA won the bout, 35-30.
Although disappointed with a loss in the medal rounds, the team was pleased to end with two major victories.
“What’s really awesome is that, after a loss, we can stay focused and still finish it,” Kelley Hurley said.
The Americans finished the season ranked No. 4 in the world rankings with the top four teams in March of 2020 qualifying for the Tokyo Olympic Games, followed by the highest ranked team in each zone with Canada sitting next in the rankings for the Pan Am zone at 16th.
Sunday also saw the start of the team events for women’s foil and men’s epee who fenced through the round of 16.
Entering as the reigning Senior World Champions, the U.S. Women’s Foil Team earned a bye into the table of 16. Featuring three returning members of the 2018 squad in Nicole Ross (New York City, N.Y.), Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.) and Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.), the trio was joined by four-time Junior World team medalist Jackie Dubrovich (Riverdale, N.J.) Together, Team USA won all nine of its bouts against Austria with eight coming by 5-2 margins or greater to set up a quarter-final match against Canada on Monday.
The men’s epee event featured four returning team members with Jake Hoyle (New York City, N.Y.) and Curtis McDowald (Jamaica, N.Y.) returning from the 2018 Senior World team that missed the medal rounds by a single touch after a loss in the quarters to France. Adam Rodney (New Orleans, La.) made his second appearance on the squad after qualifying in 2017 and 2012 Senior World Team Champion Ben Bratton (New York City, N.Y.) coming back to his eighth Senior Worlds.
Right out of the gate, Team USA’s first match would be against Cuba – a team that entered as the 25th seed despite having defeated the U.S. team at the Pan American Championships due to the fact that the Cubans travel infrequently and only participated in two of five World Cups during the last season. Team USA came into the match well-prepared, however, taking an early lead and refusing to give it up. Hoyle (+8), McDowald (+3) and Rodney (0) all posted even or positive indicators with each athlete fencing three bouts.
With the score tied at 29 against China after the first six bouts, Rodney took a key win against Zijie Wang at 6-5 in the seventh and Hoyle held on against Minghao Lan in the third, splitting the bout, 3-3, to give McDowald a 38-37 lead going into the ninth. McDowald never gave up more than a double to Chao Dong as he soon built a 44-lead for Team USA. Dong remained in the bout, however, and picked off five straight against McDowald, scoring the winning touch at 45-44 with two seconds on the clock.
The loss pushed the Americans into the 9th – 16th place table, needing three more matches to finish the day. Most importantly, although Team USA bested Cuba in the 32, the men also had to stay ahead of Venezuela – the team that earned the qualification slot for the zone in 2016 – in the rankings.
In the first match against Kazakhstan, Hoyle came in as anchor against Elmir Alimzhanov with the score tied at 36. Alimzhanov closed out well, however, giving Kazakhstan the 45-44 win.
Fencing Germany in the 13th – 16th place table, McDowald came up with two big wins, taking out Lukas Bellmann, 7-4, in the sixth and Nikolaus Bodoczi, 8-3, in the eighth to create a 36-35 lead after a deficit that had reached eight earlier in the match. Hoyle returned as anchor, splitting touches at seven each against Bellmann for a 43-42 win.
Team USA fenced Estonia for 13th place, but came up short. In a back and forth match. Estonia led the match at 25-21 after the fifth, but McDowald put up eight against Sten Priinits to cut Estonia’s lead to 30-29. Rodney outscored Eskov, 3-2, to tie the match at 32, but McDowald and Hoyle each took losses in the final bouts as Estonia earned a 45-39 victory.
Team USA’s 14th place finish was enough to keep the Americans 10th in the world rankings with Venezuela in 15th and Cuba in 20th.
Men’s team saber competition also was held on Sunday, but the Americans did not advance to the top eight and finished 10th on Saturday.
Top eight and U.S. results are as follows:
Women’s Team Epee Senior World Championships
Men’s Team Saber Senior World Championships
Tag(s): Latest News