skip navigation

Courtney Hurley, Lee Kiefer and Eliza Stone Win NCAA Titles

03/27/2013, 2:00pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – London Olympians Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas / Notre Dame) and Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky. / Notre Dame) and 2013 Senior World Team hopeful Eliza Stone (Chicago, Ill. / Princeton) each won titles at the NCAA Championships in San Antonio on Sunday.

Competing in an epee field with both her 2012 Olympic medalist teammate Susie Scanlan (St. Paul, Minn. / Princeton) and three past NCAA Champions, Hurley finished the pool rounds with a 18-5 record and a position in the semifinals.

A 2011 NCAA Champion before taking the following season off to train for London, the Notre Dame redshirt senior fenced 2010 NCAA Champion Margherita Guzzi Vincent (ITA / Penn State) in the semis.

Although Hurley took a two touch lead at the end of the first period, 5-3, Vincent tied the bout at 10 by the end of the second. With Hurley up, 14-13, in the third period, Vincent scored a single to tie the bout for the sixth time.  After a double touch, Hurley hit Vincent on the arm to win the bout, 15-14, and advance to the gold medal final against Scanlan who defeated Stanford freshman Vivian Kong (HKG), 5-10, in the other semi.

Scanlan, a redshirt junior, entered the final bout with the advantage of having won her round-robin bout against Hurley, 5-3, but Hurley took a 4-2 lead after the first period and never looked back as she went on to win the bout, 15-6. 

“We fence each other all the time and it’s usually really close. She’s a really good fencer and she’s done really well this tournament, so it was a little unexpected that it happened like that,” said Hurley whose Notre Dame team fell short of winning the team title and placed second behind the first-time combined champions from Princeton. “It’s very rewarding, but I wish our whole team won. We worked really hard, but it just didn’t work in our favor. But Princeton, they made history since it’s the first time they’ve ever won, so that’s really cool, but I really wish Notre Dame would have won really badly.”

Hurley and her Fighting Irish teammate Lee Kiefer have fenced at three Senior World Championships together as well as the London Games, but this time the two were working together to win both individual titles as well as a second-place finish for the Irish.

Kiefer, a freshman and 2011 Senior World medalist, Kiefer went 14-1 in the foil round robin on Saturday with her only loss coming to older Alexandra Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.) – a 2011 NCAA Champion and Harvard junior.

On Sunday, Kiefer won nine straight bouts to take the top seed in the semifinals where she would face Mona Shaito.

A sophomore at Ohio State, Shaito fenced with Kiefer on the 2010 U.S. Cadet World Team before going on to represent Lebanon at the London Games.

Kiefer controlled the bout from the start and held a 12-3 lead at the break. Shaito scored twice more in the second period, but Kiefer took the win, 15-5.

Kiefer’s victory would set up a battle of the freshmen in the gold medal bout after Jackie Dubrovich (Riverdale, N.J.) defeated Kiefer’s Notre Dame teammate Madison Zeiss (Notre Dame, Ind.), 15-7, in the second semifinal.

Although the final featured two freshman, both Kiefer and Dubrovich are experienced international fencers who have won two Junior World Team silver medals together and will have a chance at gold when they travel to Porec, Croatia in two weeks for the next Junior Worlds.

After Kiefer jumped out to 3-0 lead, Dubrovich scored three straight to tie the bout. Kiefer replied with five unanswered touches and finished the first period with an 8-4 lead. In the second period, Kiefer was up 11-8 when the fencers were called for non-combattivity and the bout was advanced directly into the third period with no one-minute break. Kiefer rattled off four touches in the final period to win the bout, 15-8, and take gold at her first NCAA Championships.

“It feels good. I was fencing well today, so I was hoping to make it this far,” Kiefer said. “It was definitely different than other tournaments I’ve been to because of the five-touch format, so it was a little frustrating at times, but I got used to it.”

Stone, a senior at Princeton, entered the NCAA Championships with three All-American honors to her credit and an international season that included her first-ever top-eight finish at a World Cup.

Now the fourth-ranked women’s saber fencer in the nation, Stone was looking to finish out her collegiate career with her first-ever NCAA title.

Stone posted just two losses in the pool rounds with one coming to her younger sister Gracie Stone – a Princeton freshman who went undefeated at the Ivy Championships earlier this month.

In the semifinals, Eliza shut out North Carolina sophomore Gillian Litynski (Niskayuna, N.Y.), 8-0, in the first period. Litynski, North Carolina’s only First Team All-American since 2000 in the sport, picked up six touches in the second period, but Eliza won the bout, 15-6.  

Gracie advanced to the semis as well, but lost her bout to three-time All-American Anna Limbach (GER), 15-9.

Limbach, a junior at St. John’s, took an 8-4 lead in the gold medal final as Eliza struggled in unfamiliar territory.

“My brain was a little bit scattered at that point and then I remember everything going silent and just trying to remember a couple things my friend … Kat Holmes taught me and just to be able to refocus and think about calmer things or things that you’ve thought of before when you were in the zone,” she said.

Eliza held her opponent to just two touches in the second period, however, as she went on to win the bout, 15-10, and add an individual title to the team victory she helped secure for Princeton earlier in the day.

“I’m just glad I was able to keep it together and turn it around. That’s been my problem for years and years and year in that I would start out strong and take the lead at the beginning of a bout and I have a lot of trouble coming back and I’ve been training a lot and I was able to do what my goal was and turn it around and solve that problem,” an emotional Stone said after the win. “Today is about as good as I thought. It was my ideal. I didn’t think it could actually happen, but it has so thank God! I’m just so happy.”

Both the men’s and women’s semifinal and gold medal bouts were aired live on ESPN3.

Click here to view the replay of the broadcasts.

A 90-minute recap showing of the NCAA Championships will air on ESPN U at 8 p.m. Eastern on April 2. 

Check your local cable listings for times in your area. 


Click here for complete results.

Women’s Epee
First Team All-Americans
1. Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas / Notre Dame)
2. Susie Scanlan (St. Paul, Minn. / Princeton)
3. Margherita Guzzi Vincent (ITA / Penn State)
3. Vivian Kong (HKG / Stanford)
Second Team All-Americans
5. Katherine Holmes (Washington, D.C. / Princeton)
6. Katarzyna Dabrowa (POL / Ohio State)
7. Francesca Bassa (Houston, Texas / Stanford)
8. Ewa Nelip (POL / Notre Dame)
Honorable Mention All-Americans
9. Courtney Dumas (Shake Heights / Northwestern)
10. Alina Ferdman (ISR / St. John’s)
11. Nina Van Loon (Boulder, Colo. / Harvard)
12. Dina Bazarbayeva (Houston, Texas / Northwestern)

Women’s Foil
First Team All-Americans
1. Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky. / Notre Dame)
2. Jackie Dubrovich (Riverdale, N.J. / Columbia)
3. Madison Zeiss (Notre Dame, Ind. / Notre Dame)
3. Mona Shaito (LIB / Ohio State)
Second Team All-Americans
5. Luona Wang (Birmingham, Ala. / Pennsylvania)
6. Alexandra Kiefer (Lexington, Ky. / Harvard)
7. Clarisse Luminet (FRA / Penn State)
8. Dayana Sarkisova (Grand Rapids, Mich.)
Honorable Mention All-Americans
9. Ambika Singh (Skillman, N.J.)
10. Eve Levin (New York City, N.Y.)
11. Marta Hausman (POL / St. John’s)
12. Evgeniya Kirpicheva (RUS / St. John’s)

Women’s Saber
First Team All-Americans
1. Eliza Stone (Chicago, Ill. / Princeton)
2. Anna Limbach (GER / St. John’s)
3. Gracie Stone (Chicago, Ill. / Princton)
3. Gillian Litynski (Niskayuna, N.Y. / North Carolina)
Second Team All-Americans
5. Allison Miller (Chicago, Ill. / Ohio State)
6. Nicole Glon (State College, Pa. / Penn State)
7. Jessica Russo (Wayne, N.J. / Penn State)
8. Lian Osier (Battle Ground, Wash. / Notre Dame)
Honorable Mention All-Americans
9. Loweye Diedro (New York City, N.Y. / Columbia)
10. Madeline Oliver (Bethesda, Md. / Yale)
11. Johanna Thill (Chanhassen, Minn. / Notre Dame)
12. Aliya Itzkowitz (GBR / Harvard)


Courtney Hurley. Photo Credit: U.S. Olympic Committee

Lee Kiefer. Photo Credit: U.S. Olympic Committee

Eliza Stone. Photo Credit: Princeton

Tag(s): News  Courtney Hurley  Lee Kiefer  Eliza Stone