skip navigation

Tim Morehouse and Margaret Lu Defend National Titles in Saber and Foil

04/16/2011, 12:00pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

(Portland, Ore.) – Saturday marked return trips to the top of the podium for two fencers who each defended titles from 2010 at the USA Fencing Division I and Wheelchair National Championships at the Oregon Convention Center.

In a career first, Tim Morehouse (New York City, N.Y.) not only defended his 2010 gold medal in the men’s saber division, but the 2008 Olympic silver medalist earned his second national title of the weekend on the heels of a victory on Friday in the team saber event with his squad from the Manhattan Fencing Center.

The top seed in the division going into the weekend, Morehouse dropped two bouts in the pools to Allen Schneider (Fayetteville, Ga.) and Michael Wiest (Portland, Ore.) to enter the table of 128 as the 13th seed.

In the table of 128, Morehouse had a first-round bye before a win in the table of 64 against Alexander Ryjik (Alexandria, Va.), 15-2, and a follow-up victory against Keith Feldman (Stony Brook, N.Y.), 15-6.

Morehouse defeated his 2010 Senior World teammate Ben Igoe (Staten Island, N.Y.), 15-3, to advance to the semifinals where he earned a win against Luther Clement (New York City, N.Y.), 15-7.

In the finals, Morehouse faced 2010 Senior World Team member Daryl Homer (New York City, N.Y.)

Just a day after Homer won the gold in the team event with Morehouse, the two were fencing on opposite sides of the strip.

“Daryl’s one of the best fencers in the country – arguably the best fencer in the country – so, for me, it was great to fence a strong bout against him,” Morehouse said. “He’s a great fencer. Hopefully we’ll be on the 2012 Olympic Team together.”

The two teammates had a close bout with Morehouse taking the lead in the final touches, 14-12. During the next exchange, Homer flew forward to attack Morehouse, but landed on Morehouse’s foot and rolled his ankle. An injury timeout was called for Homer before the touch was awarded, but, after the break, Homer was given the point and the score was 14-13.

With a taped ankle and in visible pain, Homer scored the next touch as well to tie the score at 14.

On the next exchange, both Morehouse and Homer celebrated what each athlete believed to be his score, but the video was replayed and, after much debate, no score was given.

As the standing-room only crowd became heavily involved, a second touch was sent to video review, but also not deemed a score for either fencer and Homer was given a yellow card.

Finally, more than half an hour after the start of the bout, Morehouse scored the final touch and was named the winner after another round of video replay.

“Honestly, that’s probably the craziest bout I’ve ever fenced in my career. I’ve never had a bout end that way. Daryl and I generally fence pretty clean, but that was just one of those once –in-a-lifetime matches,” Morehouse said.

Although Morehouse was excited about his gold medal win, he said his focus continues to be on the 2012 London Olympic Games.

“It’s always great to win Nationals and I got to win yesterday with my team and to come back and win it today was great. Obviously you can’t do better than two gold, so I’m really happy with that, but this was really a tune-up for the Olympic qualifying events in two weeks,” Morehouse said.

In two weeks, Morehouse and Homer will compete at the World Cup in Athens, Greece as part of the first Olympic qualifying event for London.

“Most importantly, hopefully Daryl will be healthy in two weeks when we start qualifying for London,” Morehouse said. “The main goal is to qualify the team for the Olympics and qualify individually for the Olympics and, after that, I want to win both individual and team gold.”

In the Division I women’s foil competition, 17-yearold Margaret Lu (Greenwich, Conn.) travelled to Portland just a week after Lu earned silver and bronze medals in Jordan at the Junior World Championships in the individual and team events.

In a rematch of their Junior World semifinal, Lu and Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.) fenced in the semifinals in Portland.

While Prescod had won all of their previous bouts at the junior and senior levels, Lu took an early need, 3-2, and kept methodically adding touches until the score reached 15-10.

“Zingy’s a great fencer, a great person and, to date, in my career I’ve never beaten her, so I think it’s a big win. Against her, against anybody to get into finals, it’s a big win and I’m proud that I accomplished it,” Lu said.

On the other side of the draw, Doris Willette (Lafayette, Calif.) advanced to the semifinals against Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.) after defeating 2008 Olympic silver medalist Emily Cross (New York City, N.Y.) in the quarter-finals.

With the score tied at eight, 16-year-old Kiefer took the lead against Willette and dropped only one touch en route to winning the bout, 14-9.

Kiefer, who took home three silver medals at the Junior and Cadet Worlds, won the Division I Nationals as a 15-year-old in 2009 and came to Portland in search of her second title.

Lu’s bout with Kiefer’s also was close with both athletes tied at seven touches with just over three minutes left in the bout.

“The whole time we were neck and neck, but, to me, it wasn’t like that in my head,” said Lu. “I was leading in my head. I could have tightened it up, but I just continued on envisioning doing what I was going to do and executed it.”

Lu took the rest of the bout one touch at a time to earn the gold with a score of 15-12.  

“I was definitely thinking a little that I was trying to defend my title, but it was more that I was out there and I just let things happen and it worked out,” Lu said.

Lu went on to say that she looks at both junior and senior fencers equally.

“In any sport, experience and maturity and age gives you an upper hand most of the time, but in fencing, since there’s so many different factors that go into making a good competitor, I don’t see someone as older or younger. I just kind of treat everyone like a body to touch,” she said.

In the wheelchair division, Ryan Estep (Florence, Miss.) won his first National Championship in the men’s epee competition.

Estep won four of his five pool bouts to enter the direct elimination table as the #1 seed with his only loss coming to Joey Brinson (Brandon, Miss.)

Estep and Brinson, who train together at the Methodist Rehabilitation Center, fenced again in the semifinals with Estep taking the win, 14-10.

Ian Penry (Seguin, Texas) defeated Corbin Beu (Phoenix, Ariz.), 15-13, to advance to his second final this weekend after placing second in the saber competition on Friday.

In the final, Estep and Penry were tied at 10 touches, each, but Estep scored five unanswered touches during their last series of exchanges to defeat Penry, 15-11, and win the gold medal.

On the women’s side, 15-year-old Cat Bouwkamp (Fishers, Ind.) wasn’t able to compete in the saber division on Friday due to a lack of competitors, but she defended her 2010 epee title.

Competing in a three-person division, Bouwkamp’s top seed after the pools meant that she advanced to the finals where she would fence the winner of the bout between Sonya Perduta (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Sonia Fogal (Flowood, Miss.)

Perduta won the semifinal bout, 15-7; however, it was Bouwkamp who prevailed in the final bout to win the gold medal, 15-11.

In the men’s epee team competition, nearly all of the top fencers from the individual event on Friday returned to compete for their home clubs.

The top team from the New York Athletic Club, NYAC 1 included two-time Olympian Seth Kelsey (Colorado Springs, Colo.) as well as 2004 Olympian Soren Thompson (New York City, N.Y.), Michael Rossi (White Plains, N.Y.) and Alexander Tsinis (Little Neck, N.Y.)

NYAC 1 brought gold back to one of the nation’s most storied programs after a final win over the East Bay Fencer’s Gym.

Fencing as the anchor with a 40-21 lead, Thompson finished strong for his team, as he gave up only one touch to Rob Rhea (Concord, Calif.) to win the bout, 45-22. Rhea earned the silver medal alongside teammates Nathaniel Burke (Orangevale, Calif.) and Keith Lichten (Oakland, Calif.)

The gold medal was the second of the weekend for Thompson who won the individual event on Friday. Tsinis also made his second trip to the podium after winning bronze in the individual event.

In the bronze medal bout, 2010 Senior World silver medalist Ben Bratton (New York City, N.Y.) went into the final match with a two-point lead over the NYAC 2 team. Bratton held onto his lead over 2011 Junior World Team member Michael Raynis (Chatsworth, Calif.) to earn bronze with a squad that included Donovan Holtz (Newark, N.J.), Adam Rodney (Queens, N.Y.) and Dwight Smith (Elmont, N.Y.)

In the women’s saber team competition, the Peter Westbrook Foundation earned the gold medal. Led by 2010 Senior World Team member Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.) after a bronze medal win on Friday, the Peter Westbrook Foundation faced the Nellya Fencers team that included 2011 Cadet World Team member Margaret McDonald (Atlanta, Ga.) and Skyla Powers (Atlanta, Ga.) who placed in the top-10 at both the Cadet and Junior Worlds this year.

Kamali Thompson (Teaneck, N.J.) and Loweye Diedro (Essane, N.Y.) helped Muhammad to build a 40-31 lead going into the final match between Muhammad and Powers. Muhammad earned five touches to Powers’ three to win gold. Powers and McDonald earned the silver medal alongside teammates Lena Johnson (Peachtree City, Ga.) and Haley Fisher (Kennesaw, Ga.)

The bronze medal bout featured the Bergen Fencing Club competing against the Manhattan Fencing Center. With a team that included 2011 Junior World Team members Francesca Russo (Wayne, N.J.) and Celina Merza (Wayne, N.J.), the Bergen Fencing Club led the bout by three touches after the seventh match.

In the eighth match, however, Russo held Sarah Pak (Roslyn, N.Y.) to a single touch on the day after Pak won her first Division I national medal to take the lead for her team, 40-33. As the anchor for the Manhattan Fencing Center, three-time Senior World Team member Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.) outscored Merza, 8-5, but Merza earned the five touches she needed to win the bout, 45-41. The Bergen Fencer’s Club team included Claudia Kulmacz (Upper Saddle River, N.J.) and Alisha Gomez (Wayne, N.J.)

Competition at the Division I and Wheelchair Nationals continues on Sunday with the following schedule:

8:30 a.m.
Division I Women’s Epee
Wheelchair Men’s Foil

11:30 a.m.
Division I Men’s Team Foil

1:30 p.m.
Wheelchair Women’s Foil

6 p.m.
Division I Women’s Epee Semifinals and Gold Medal Bouts

Top eight results for each division are as follows:

Division I Men’s Saber
1. Tim Morehouse (New York City, N.Y.)
2. Daryl Homer (New York City, N.Y.)
3. Luther Clement (New York City, N.Y.)
3. Avery Zuck (Portland, Ore.)
5. Mihail Etropolski (Floral Park, N.Y.)
6. Jeff Speak (Wynantskill, N.Y.)
7. Benjamin Igoe (Staten Island, N.Y.)
8. Will Speak (Wynantskill, N.Y.)

Division I Women’s Foil
1. Margaret Lu (Greenwich, Conn.)
2. Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.)
3. Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
3. Doris Willette (Lafayette, Calif.)
5. Ambika Singh (Skillman, N.J.)
6. Nicole Ross (New York City, N.Y.)
7. Emily Cross (New York City, N.Y.)
8. Hayley Reese (Crestwood, Ky.)

Division I Men’s Team Epee
1. NYAC 1
2. East Bay Fencers Gym
3. Peter Westbrook Foundation
4. NYAC 2
5. NYAC 3
6. Summit Epee
7. Northwest Fencing Center
8. Northern Colorado Fencers

Division I Women’s Team Saber
1. Peter Westbrook Foundation
2. Nellya Fencers
3. Bergen FC
4. Manhattan Fencing Center
5. New York Athletic Club

Wheelchair Women’s Epee
1. Cat Bouwkamp (Fishers, Ind.)
2. Sonya Perduta (Phoenix, Ariz.)
3. Sonia Fogal (Flowood, Miss.)

Wheelchair Men’s Epee
1. Ryan Estep (Florence, Miss.)
2. Ian Penry (Seguin, Texas)
3. Joey Brinson (Brandon, Miss.)
3. Corbin Beu (Phoenix, Ariz.)
5. Darryl Weiss (Santee, Calif.)
6. Lance Ivey (Glendale, Ariz.)

Tag(s): News  Margaret Lu