Four-time Senior World medalist Lee Kiefer will compete in Kansas City at the October NAC. Photo Credit: #BizziTeam
(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – The first of four domestic qualification tournaments for the Tokyo Olympic Games will be held in Kansas City, Mo. this weekend at the October North American Cup.
The October NAC will begin on Friday and conclude on Monday at the Kansas City Convention Center, 301 W. 13th St. Tickets are available for $5 per day or $15 for a tournament pass and can be purchased at https://member.usafencing.org/store or at the gate. Individuals with a USA Fencing membership of supporting level or higher are admitted free.
Competition will be held in Division I, Division II, cadet and parafencing categories in each of the three weapons: epee, foil and saber. Competition begins at 8 a.m. daily and ends at approximately 8 p.m.
The Division I fields include nearly 300 competitors in some events as athletes battle for Olympic qualification points. With the U.S. Olympic Fencing Team to be named based on athlete finishes in the USA Fencing National Team Point Standings at the conclusion of the qualifying period in April, a top finish in Kansas City could help secure a berth on Team USA.
With 24 of the 27 members of the 2019 Senior World Team scheduled to fence in Kansas City, the October NAC also is expected to feature at least 18 Olympic and Senior World medalists.
Friday, Oct. 18
Division I Men’s Epee
Start Time: 8 a.m.
After earning podium finishes on the World Cup circuit last year, 2019 Senior World Team members Jake Hoyle (New York City, N.Y.) and Curtis McDowald (Jamaica, N.Y.) Hoyle enters the tournament as the reigning National Champion. Both athletes are ranked among the top four in the nation in regards to Olympic qualifying points with their 2019 Senior World teammates, Adam Rodney (New Orleans, La.) and James Kaull (New York City, N.Y.) also ranked among the top four in Olympic qualifying points. Rodney, who earned a top-32 result at the Senior Worlds in July, scored podium finishes at three of the last four domestic events, including gold at the 2018 October NAC and silver behind Hoyle at the Div I Nationals in April. Kaull also reached the podium last season, earning silver at the December NAC.
The men’s epee field also includes Olympians and World Champions seeking to return to the world’s best stage in Tokyo. Two-time Olympian and 2012 Senior World Champion Soren Thompson (New York City, N.Y.) has his sights set on a third Games after fencing in 2004 and 2012 with the goal of competing in Tokyo at 39 years old. Thompson’s 2012 Senior World teammate, Ben Bratton (New York City, N.Y.), is attempting to qualify for his first Games while Jason Pryor (Euclid, Ohio) is returning from injuries with the goal of qualifying for a second Games after fencing in Rio.
Division I Men’s Saber
Start Time: 8 a.m.
The men’s saber field in Kansas City is led by top seed Daryl Homer (Bronx, N.Y.) – a Rio Olympic silver medalist who has won gold at five of the last six national events in which he has competed – including back-to-back titles at the 2017 and 2018 Division I Nationals. A first-time Senior World Team member this season, Khalil Thompson (Teaneck, N.J.) climbed the Olympic qualifying list with a top-32 result at the Madrid World Cup in May and earned top-three finishes at all three NACs last season. London Olympian Jeff Spear (Wynantskill, N.Y.) and 2019 Junior World medalist Mitchell Saron (Ridgewood, N.J.) are each seeking medal finishes in Kansas City to build on top-64 results on the World Cup circuit.
Saturday, Oct. 19
Division I Men’s Foil
Start Time: 1 p.m.
With five athletes who have all earned medals on the World Cup circuit in the mix for four positions on the U.S. Olympic Fencing Team, the men’s foil qualification race is expected to be one of the most challenging of all of the squads. Three members of the squad who won gold at Senior Worlds in July and bronze at the 2016 Olympic Games will be fencing in Kansas City, including Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.), Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.) and Miles Chamley-Watson (New York City, N.Y.) It is 2018 Junior World Champion Nick Itkin (Los Angeles, Calif.) who holds the most Olympic qualification points currently, following a silver medal finish at the Shanghai Grand Prix in May and a top-32 result at his first Senior Worlds.
Sunday, Oct. 20
Division I Women’s Foil
Start Time: 8 a.m.
Three members of the team that won bronze at the 2019 Senior Worlds will be battling for Olympic qualification points in Kansas City, including two-time Olympian Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.), 2012 Olympian Nicole Ross (New York City, N.Y.) and Jackie Dubrovich (Riverdale, N.J.) who earned a top-eight finish at the first Olympic qualification event in Tauberbischofsheim, Germany in May. Together the three are ranked 1-2-3 in both the National Rolling Points and Olympic qualification points. Four other fencers earned qualification points during the first two international tournaments of the season with Iman Blow (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Lauren Scruggs (Ozone Park, N.Y.), Maia Weintraub (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Stefani Deschner (Mechanicsville, Va.) each scheduled to fence at the NAC as well.
Division I Women’s Epee
Start Time: 8 a.m.
Team USA’s Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas), Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) and Kat Holmes (Washington, D.C.) have fenced together on every National Team since 2013, including the Rio Olympic Games and the 2018 Senior Worlds where Team USA won bronze. Now they are ranked 1-2-3 in Olympic qualification points with Hurley earning a silver medal at the Cali Grand Prix in May to lead the field. A 2017 Junior World silver medalist and 2019 Senior World Team member, Kasia Nixon (Los Angeles, Calif.) will be another to watch after posting a top-64 and top-32 result in May as she aims to stay in the top four in Olympic qualification. Two-time Senior World team member Anna van Brummen (Houston, Texas) and Greta Candreva (Katonah N.Y.) each earned top-32 results on the circuit in the opening international tournaments of the Olympic qualifying period with Candreva picking up a top-32 in Cali and van Brummen scoring hers in Dubai. Isis Washington (Parsippany, N.J.) will be another to watch after putting a top-64 on the board in Cali.
Monday, Oct. 21
Division I Women’s Saber
Start Time: 8 a.m.
Two-time Olympic Champion Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.) has won the last three domestic events in which she has competed, but top seed Eliza Stone (Chicago, Ill.) won her last two bouts against Zagunis this summer, defeating her teammate by 15-14 margins in the 16 at the Senor Worlds and gold medal final at the Pan American Championships. Stone leads the Olympic qualifying points with a top-eight result at Senior Worlds as the 2018 Senior World bronze medalist attempts to qualify for her first Olympic Team and Zagunis goes for her fifth. Kamali Thompson (Teaneck, N.J.) sits fourth in Olympic qualification points, scoring her first top-32 finish in Tunisia as she aims for her first Olympic Team. The field also includes Ola Shelton (Tigard, Ore.) – a four-time Olympian for Poland who competed for Team USA at the 2019 Senior Worlds and 2016 Olympic team bronze medalist Monica Aksamit (Matawan, N.J.) Four past World Team members with Olympic aspirations also earned valuable Olympic qualification points on the international circuit so far, including Elizabeth Tartakovsky (Livingston, N.J.), Francesca Russo (Wayne, N.J.), Chloe Fox-Gitomer (Portland, Ore.) and Nora Burke (New York City, N.Y.)