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U.S. Women’s Epee Team Finishes Fifth in Tokyo

07/27/2021, 1:00pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Team USA's Anna van Brummen, Kat Holmes, Kelley Hurley and Courtney Hurley in the quarter-finals. Photo Credit: #BizziTeam.

(Tokyo) – The U.S. Women’s Epee Team rebounded from a challenging loss in the quarter-finals to finish fifth at the Olympic Games in Tokyo on Tuesday.

In a rematch of the 2018 Senior World Championships final, Team USA faced Korea in its first match of the day with a starting lineup of Kat Holmes (Washington, D.C. / New York Athletic Club / Princeton), Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas / New York Athletic Club / Notre Dame) and Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas / New York Athletic Club / Notre Dame).

The United States, who defeated Korea to win the 2018 Senior Worlds, stayed within two touches of Korea throughout the first half, ending the fifth bout down 17-15. Korea opened the gap during the next three bouts, though, giving Holmes a six-point deficit to make up in the anchor leg against Young Mi Kang, a five-time individual medalist on the World Cup circuit. Holmes outscored Kang, 10-9, but couldn’t make up the difference as Team USA fell to the eventual silver medalists, 38-33.

In the next match, the Americans fenced Hong Kong with Kelley Hurley opening the bout up after a 9-3 run against Yik Hei Coco Lin to give Team USA a 12-10 lead. Bout by bout, Team USA increased the spread with Holmes taking a 5-1 win over 2019 Senior World bronze medalist Man Wai Vivian Kong to end the match at 42-31.

In the fifth place match, three-time Senior World Team member Anna van Brummen (Houston, Texas / Alliance Fencing Academy / Princeton) came in as the replacement athlete, subbing in for Courtney Hurley and posting a +2 indicator across three bouts in her Olympic debut. With a five-point lead, Holmes finished strong, defeating Ewa Trazebinska (POL), 10-8, to finish the match with a 33-26 victory.

While the team that was formerly No. 1 in the world, came away disappointed, Holmes stressed the importance of finishing strong.

“You’re representing Team USA and not giving up is part of the testament of this being the Olympic Games,” Holmes said. “It’s not just about winning, but being that Olympic athlete. You always want to try your best and show what you can do. That’s part of it and even if you’re not winning a medal, just being the best you can be.”

Kelley Hurley acknowledged that battling through after a loss at the Games is a challenge for all of the teams that lost quarter-final matches.

“Everyone in the round of 5-8 is kind of sad. Nobody is really super excited out there, even to win. Obviously we’d rather win than lose, but it’s kind of a different feeling overall,” she said. “It’s tough when you lose a match to get into the medal rounds and you have to fence off [for places]. We were able to bring it back together and focus for the next victory, and I think that’s extremely important.”

Top eight results are as follows:

Women’s Team Epee
1. Estonia
2. Korea
3. Italy
4. China
5. USA
6. Poland
7. Hong Kong
8. ROC

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