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Lee Kiefer Places 12th at Gdansk Foil Grand Prix, Nzingha Prescod Finishes 14th

02/28/2011, 2:33am CST
By Nicole Jomantas

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Sixteen-year-old Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.) may have been the second youngest of 120 competitors at the Gdansk Foil Grand Prix in Poland on Saturday, but the reigning Cadet World Champion showed that she can compete with the best in the world when she earned a senior international personal best 12th place finish.

As the 16th seed in the event, Kiefer had the benefit of advancing directly into the table of 64 on Saturday.

Kiefer opened competition on Saturday with a 9-8 win over Melanie Grube (GER).

In the table of 32, Kiefer defeated Shiho Nishioka (JPN), a sixth-place finisher at the 2009 Junior Worlds, by a score of 15-8 in a bout Lee later described as her best fencing of the day.

Kiefer’s next bout pitted her against Valentina Vezzali (ITA), the 2008 Olympic Champion and three-time former World Champion, who won the bout, 15-4.

“I fenced best against Nishioka, but learned the most fencing Vezzali,” Kiefer said. “I wasn’t nervous fencing Vezzali because by fencing her, I knew that even if I lost I was gaining experience.”

Kiefer said her experience in Gdansk will continue to benefit her at future World Cups.

“I used to get intimidated by being the youngest fencer, but now I’m used to it and feel more confident about competing with these women in the future,” Kiefer said. “I feel satisfied with my finish, but I know there are a lot of things I need to work on.”

Two weeks after being named the Ivy League Women’s Most Outstanding Rookie, 18-year-old Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.) left Columbia University for the weekend to return to the international scene where the 2010 Senior World Team member placed 14th.

As Kiefer was the only U.S. team member with a top-16 seed going into the event, Prescod needed five wins to advance to the table of 64, winning four pool bouts on Friday before defeating Anita Blaze (FRA), 15-6, in the table of 128 to advance to competition on Saturday.

On Saturday, Prescod opened with a 9-7 win over Chie Yoshizawa (JPN). In the table of 32, Prescod defeated two-time Junior World Champion Inna Deriglazova (RUS), 15-10.

Prescod finished 14th overall after a 15-10 loss to Corinne Maitrejean (FRA), an eighth-place finisher at the 2010 Senior World Championships.

Nineteen-year-old Ambika Singh (Skillman, N.J.) advanced to the table of 64 after five wins in the pools on Friday.

Singh won her opening bout on Saturday against Viktoria Kozyreva (RUS), 12-11, but lost her next bout against two-time World medalist Arianna Errigo (ITA), 15-5.

Margaret Lu (Greenwich, Conn.), Nicole Ross (New York City, N.Y.), Doris Willette (Lafayette, Calif.) and Emily Cross (New York City, N.Y.) also qualified for the table of 64, but each lost in the opening bout.

Lu and Willette placed 41st and 44th, respectively, while Ross and Cross finished 49th and 57th, respectively.

Top eight and U.S. results are as follows:

Gdansk Grand Prix
1. Valenina Vezzali (ITA)
2. Elisa Di Francisca (ITA)
3. Hyun-Hee Nam (KOR)
3. Arianna Errigo (ITA)
5. Corinne Maitrejean (FRA)
6. Ilaria Salvatori (ITA)
7. Giovanna Trillini (ITA)
8. Julia Birioukova (RUS)

12. Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.)
14. Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
23. Ambika Singh (Skillman, N.J.)
41. Margaret Lu (Greenwich, Conn.)
44. Doris Willette (Lafayette, Calif.)
49. Nicole Ross (New York City, N.Y.)
57. Emily Cross (New York City, N.Y.)
106. Adrienne Nott (Honeoye Falls, N.Y)

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