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Nicole Ross Wins First Career Bronze, Team USA Takes Silver in Cancun

10/19/2016, 3:54am CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Team USA silver medalists Lee Kiefer, Nicole Ross, Margaret Lu and Sabrina Massialas with Coach Buckie Leach. Photo Credit: Buckie Leach

Nicole Ross (far right) on the podium in Cancun. Photo Credit: Augusto Bizzi / FIE.

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – London Olympian Nicole Ross (New York City, N.Y.) won her first individual World Cup medal at the first major tournament of the 2016-17 World Cup season in Cancun, Mexico on Saturday.

Building on her most successful season to date in which she rose to No. 10 in the world rankings, Ross now sits at ninth in the world after a bronze medal finish in Cancun.

Due to her top-16 World Ranking, Ross was exempt from pools and blew through her opening bout against Flora Pasztor (HUN), the No. 3 junior in the world, by a 15-8 score.

Ross edged Eva Hampel (POL), 15-13, in the table of 32 and won her table of 16 bout against Rio Olympian Hanna Lyczbinska (POL), 15-12.

In the quarter-finals, Ross drew Leonie Ebert – one of Germany’s up-and-coming stars who won the 2015 Cadet World Championships and followed with bronze at the Junior Worlds in the same week. Ross felt out her opponent during the start of the first period before breaking away from a tie at three with a 12-1 run to win the bout, 15-4.

The win guaranteed Ross at least a bronze medal finish as she entered her semifinal bout against Italian Elisa Vardaro who defeated two-time Olympian Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.), 15-11, in the previous round.

Ross kept the bout close with a tie at six before Vardaro took control of the bout to take a 15-11 win.

Kiefer, who ended the 2015-16 season with three straight medals at World Cup or Grand Prix events, finished fifth in Cancun to retain her No. 4 world ranking.

In addition to Ross and Kiefer, four other members of Team USA earned top-16 finishes as four Junior World medalists advanced to the table of 16.

Reigning Junior World Champion Sabrina Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) entered the Cancun World Cup with the advantage of holding a top-16 seed for the first time in her young career.

After a 15-8 win against Gerrica Gu (CAN), Massialas defeated Pauline Ranvier (FRA), 15-12, in the table of 32.

In the table of 16, Massialas lost her bout to 2013 Junior World Champion Camila Mancini (ITA), 15-12.

Margaret Lu (Greenwich, Conn.), a 2014 Junior World Team Champion, went undefeated in pools on Friday to advance to the table of 64. Lu dominated her first direct elimination bout against Nicole Mae Hui Shan Wong (SIN), 15-3, and escaped her table of 32 bout with a 15-14 win against 2009 Junior World Champion Fanny Kreiss (HUN).

Lu fenced Kiefer in the table of 16 and tied the bout at 12 before Kiefer pulled away with three straight to win the bout, 15-12.

Iman Blow (Brooklyn, N.Y.), a member of the U.S. team that won silver at the 2016 Junior Worlds, earned her first top-64 finish at a Senior World Cup at this event last year and returned to place 15th this year.


Blow went 5-1 in the pool rounds to advance to the table of 64 where she defeated Xiao-Qing Tsai (TPE), 15-4. After a 15-12 win against Martyna Jelinska (POL), Blow lost her table of 16 bout against Vardaro, 15-3.

Another member of the team that won gold at the 2014 Junior Worlds, Jackie Dubrovich (Riverdale, N.J.), earned her second career top-16 result on the World Cup circuit.

Dubrovich finished the pool rounds at 3-2 and defeated two-time Pan Am medalist Kelleigh Ryan (CAN), 14-11, in the table of 64. Dubrovich defeated 2015 Junior World team silver medalist Morgan Partridge (Swansea, Mass.) in the 32, but lost her next bout, 15-7, to Arianna Errigo (ITA) who went on to win gold and retain her No. 1 world ranking.

Sylvie Binder (Armonk, N.Y.), the reigning Cadet World Champion, placed 30th at her first Senior World Cup. After a 4-2 result in pools, Binder defeated Solene Butruille (FRA), 15-13, in the table of 64 before dropping her next bout to Hanna Lyczbinska (POL), 15-9. 

Madison Zeiss (Culver City, Calif.) also finished the pool rounds at 4-2, but lost her first DE to Ranvier, 15-6.

Ross, Kiefer, Massialas and Lu fenced in the team event on Sunday where Team USA defeated Poland, 45-39, in the quarters to advance to the medal rounds.

In the semis, the Americans took on France – a team that defeated Team USA at the World Championships in April en route to winning bronze. This time, Team USA won the match, 45-37.

Team USA ended the day with a silver medal after a 45-36 final loss to Italy. The silver medal puts the U.S. Women’s Foil Team into the No. 3 position in the world rankings behind Russia, the reigning World Team Champions, and Italy who is currently second.

Cancun Women’s Individual Foil World Cup
1. Arianna Errigo (ITA)
2. Elisa Vardaro (ITA)
3. Martina Batini (ITA)
3. Nicole Ross (New York City, N.Y.)
5. Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.)

6. Camilla Mancini (ITA)
7. Leonie Ebert (GER)
8. Chiara Cini (ITA)

11. Sabrina Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)
13. Margaret Lu (Greenwich, Conn.)
15. Iman Blow (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
16. Jackie Dubrovich (Riverdale, N.J.)
30. Sylvie Binder (Armonk, N.Y.)
31. Morgan Partridge (Swansea, Mass.)
49. Madison Zeiss (Culver City, Calif.)
71. Adrienne Nott (Philadelphia, Pa.)
81. Sara Martos (El Cerrito, Calif.)

Cancun Women’s Team Foil World Cup
1. Italy
2. USA
3. Germany
4. France
5. Canada
6. Hungary
7. Poland
8. Japan

Tag(s): Margaret Lu