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Prescod Becomes First U.S. Woman’s Foilist to Win Grand Prix Gold

05/27/2013, 3:00pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Nzingha Prescod signs autographs after her win. Photo credit: Madison Zeiss.

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – London Olympian Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.) made history on Saturday when the 20-year-old won gold at the Marseille Foil Grand Prix in France, becoming the first U.S. women’s foil fencer ever to earn a Grand Prix title.

Prescod, who has placed in the top eight twice on the World Cup circuit in the recent seasons, was joined in the top eight in France by her 2012 Olympic teammate, Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.) who finished sixth.

Seeded 10th in the tournament, Prescod was exempt from the pools and preliminary tables and opened the event with a 15-7 victory over 2013 Junior World Champion Camilla Mancini (ITA).

In the table of 32, Prescod defeated Viktoria Kozyreva (RUS), 15-11.

Prescod edged 2011 Junior World medalist Ysaora Thibus (FRA), 15-14, in the table of 16 to advance to the quarter-finals for the second time this season after placing fifth at the Tauberbischofsheim World Cup in February.

In the quarters, Prescod faced Inna Deriglazova (RUS). A two-time Junior World Champion, Deriglazova is now ranked second in the world after winning gold at four of the eighth international events so far this season.

Prescod came away with a 15-12 win to bring her record against the Russian to 3-0 during the past three World Cup seasons.

The victory gave Prescod a place in the semifinals and a guaranteed podium finish – the first for a U.S. women’s foil fencer since Iris Zimmermann (Rochester, N.Y.) won bronze in New York in 2004.

After a three hour break, Prescod took the finals strip for her semifinal bout against 2005 Senior World Team Champion Corinne Maitrejean (FRA).

For the second time of the day, Prescod’s bout would come down to the wire, but she took the win, 15-14.

“I stayed super calm on both of the 14-14 touches today. In the final touches I really tried to recreate the touches that had the most success in the bout and it worked!” Prescod said. “I really got overexcited in the final period of my bout with Corinne and started to rush to get touches, but once I realized what I was doing wrong and corrected it I was able to get it together for that last touch which was such a great feeling.”

In the gold medal final, Prescod held a 14-8 lead over Carolin Golubytskyi (GER) in the third period, but Prescod briefly got ahead of herself and let Golubytskyi back into the game as the German scored four straight touches.

Prescod regrouped, however, and took the win, 15-12.

“Breaking through is the best!” said Prescod who now moves up to a #8 world ranking – a career high.  “It's so relieving because you really prove to yourself you can do it. And if you can do it once you can do it again. Hopefully there will be several more following this. It feels great to finally be on the podium. That was my goal for this season and I'm really pleased with myself. I was really having a great day! I stayed relaxed and focused all day and everything just worked out, I really couldn't be happier.”

A fifth-place finisher in London and bronze medalist at the 2011 Senior Worlds, 18-year-old Kiefer earned her second top-eight finish of the season in France.

The tournament’s fifth seed, Kiefer won her first two bouts by 15-8 margins over Flora Tran (FRA) and Saskia Loretta Van Erven Garcia (COL).

In the table of 16, Kiefer defeated 2012 London Olympic team bronze medalist Hee Sook Jeon (KOR), 15-11, in her first bout ever against Jeon who also held an individual Senior World silver medal in 2009.

Kiefer’s bid for her first Grand Prix medal came to an end, however, when she lost her quarter-final bout to Carolina Erba (ITA), 15-9.

Four-time Junior World medalist Margaret Lu (Greenwich, Conn.) also fenced in the table of 64 on Saturday. Lu, who went undefeated in the pools on Friday to advance as the 19th seed in the tournament, lost her table of 64 bout to Tatiana Myasnikova (RUS), 15-8.

Fencing in her first international tournament, Olivia Dobbs (Farmington, Mich.) also advanced to the table of 64.

Dobbs finished the pools with a 4-2 record and earned a bye through the preliminary table of 64. On Saturday, she lost her bout to Martyna Synoradzka (POL), 15-10.

Top eight and U.S. results are as follows, including athletes who placed outside the top 64 on Saturday:

Marseille Foil Grand Prix
1. Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

2. Carolin Golubytskyi (GER)
3. Carolina Erba (ITA)
3. Corinne Maitrejean (FRA)
5. Inna Deriglazova (RUS)
6. Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.)
7. Diana Yakoleva (RUS)
8. Benedetta Durando (ITA)

34. Margaret Lu (Greenwich, Conn.)
48. Olivia Dobbs (Farmington, Mich.)
86. Madison Zeiss (Notre Dame, Ind.)

Tag(s): News  Nzingha Prescod