Nicole Ross (right) defeated teammate Lee Kiefer in the table of 32 at the Senior Worlds on her way to a top-16 result.
(Budapest, Hungary) – London Olympian Nicole Ross (New York City, N.Y.) earned one of her best career results on Wednesday when she placed 15th in women’s foil at the Senior World Championships.
Ross, who finished 14th at the 2011 Senior Worlds, posted a strong, 5-1, result in the pool rounds on Monday to advance directly to the table of 64, but her 27th seed put Ross on a collision course with her 2012 Olympic teammate Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.)
First, however, Ross drew Natasha Ezzra Abu Bakar (MAS) in the table of 64. Ross scored 10 straight to open the bout against Abu Bakar and gave up just three touches to win the bout, 15-3.
The win allowed Ross to move into the table of 32 where she would fence Kiefer who took bronze at the 2011 Senior Worlds as a 17-year-old.
Now ranked sixth in the world, Kiefer dominated her opening bout against Canadian Eleanor Harvey for a 15-5 win.
Ross began her table of 32 bout with Kiefer aggressively and scored five straight touches to take a 6-1 lead. By the break, Ross still led the bout by a 10-6 margin.
In the second period, however, Kiefer scored five of the first six touches to tie the bout at 11. Ross answered with three straight touches and allowed just one more from Kiefer before winning the bout, 15-12.
While the two have fenced together on three Senior and two Junior World Teams together, the win marks the first time Ross has beaten Kiefer in competition
“First of all, I have tremendous respect for her, not only because she is my friend and teammate but also because she is a fighter and always shows courage on the strip. I am sometimes overly emotional when I fence and I was definitely trying to stay calm and as even, emotionally, as possible when fencing Lee,” Ross said of Kiefer who finished 17th overall. “I did go into the bout with a tactical plan and I was pleased with the way I executed that plan, as well as the way that I adjusted during the bout. Naturally, I was disappointed that we had to fence so early because I want all of my teammates to succeed and win, but Lee is an outstanding competitor and I'm confident she will continue to be a dominant force in the international circuit.”
In the table of 16, Ross set the tone early against Diana Yakovleva (RUS) – a fencer she lost to, 15-13, in the table of 16 at the Torino World Cup this spring.
This time, Ross set the tone as she opened with a 3-0 lead. Yakovleva scored twice, but Ross held on to finish the first period, 5-2.
Up, 10-6, going into the third period, by the 90 second mark, she was ahead, 13-9, and needed just two touches to finish the bout.
Yakovleva outscored Ross, 5-1, and tied the bout in the final seconds at 14.
“I was feeling the distance so well for the majority of the bout. To be honest, I think fatigue played a large role in my losing my lead and not being able to score the last touch,” Ross said.
The bout went into overtime and, although Ross made several solid attacks, it was the Russian who took the win, 15-14.
“Going into overtime I changed my strategy somewhat. I wanted to be more offensive. I was extremely close to hitting her on an attack. I actually felt my tip touch her lamé. I wish I could have controlled the situation better. I guess there's always a lot of room for improvement!”” Ross said. “Overall, I felt that I was moving well, choosing good actions and cycling through those actions effectively. I felt a lot better than I did on the prelim day when I was tense and nervous.”
Falling one touch short of her first international quarter-final outside of the Americas, Ross said that her finish on Wednesday helps motivate her for the upcoming season.
“A top eight finish would have really made my day. Sadly it didn't happen, but I'm still really pleased with the way I fenced and I think I'm making progress. Getting through any competition gives me some level of confidence because it's just another experience to add to my overall experience as a fencer,” she said. “I have placed top 16 once before in Catania in 2011 so it's nice to be able to repeat that. I'll definitely be looking for a lot more on the World Cup circuit this year and hopefully at worlds 2014, as well.”
Fencing at her fourth Senior Worlds, London Olympian Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.) came into Budapest with a career-high seventh seed after a successful World Cup season that included a gold medal at the Marseille Grand Prix in May and a silver at the Pan American Championships in June. .
After a 15-8 win over Haruka Yanaoka (JPN) in the table of 64, Prescod drew six-time Olympic Champion Valentina Vezzali (ITA). While Vezzali would ordinarily not be a fencer Prescod would encounter before the table of 16, the Italian took time off after London to have a baby and her world ranking points from winning bronze at the 2012 Olympic Games weren’t high enough to earn the top-16 ranking she would need to be exempt from the pools and preliminary rounds.
Vezzali finished the pools with a 5-1 record on Monday and shook up the table of 64 when she entered as a 26th seed.
Vezzali held a 5-2 lead after the first period, but Prescod tied the bout at eight by the end of the second period.
The two exchanged touches and Vezzali took a 14-11 lead late in the third. Prescod scored twice to close the gap, to 14-13, but it was Vezzali who took the final touch.
Prescod placed 18th – her highest finish at a Senior Worlds.
Four-time Junior World medalist Margaret Lu (Greenwich, Conn.) made her Senior Worlds debut, but lost her opening bout to Nataly Michel (MEX), 15-6, and finished in 44th place.
The U.S. Women’s Foil Team, who finished fourth at the Tauberbischofsheim World Cup, will compete in the team event on Thursday.
“As I always do, I'm looking forward to the team event. In New York during training, we've been practicing team strategy and working on supporting each other and coaching each other in the box,” Ross said. “If we follow our plan, create a strategic lineup, support each other fully and stay disciplined I know we can push through to the four and beyond. Our team is young but super talented and I think we are ready to step it up.”
In the men’s saber competition, all four U.S. fencers advanced to the table of 64 after the preliminary rounds on Monday, but London Olympian Daryl Homer (Bronx, N.Y.) was the only athlete to advance to the table of 32.
Ranked seventh in the world, Homer defeated Pablo Moreno (ESP), 15-8, in the table of 64.
In the table of 32, Homer fenced Csanad Gemesi (HUN) in front of a boisterous crowd on the heels of Gemesi’s 15-6 win over Homer’s teammate, Aleksander Ochocki (Linden, N.J.) in the previous round.
Fueled by his home fans, Gemesi took a 4-1 lead which made the crowd grow even louder, but Homer came back to tie the bout at five and kept the score within a touch when Gemesi took an 8-7 lead at the break. In the second period, Gemesi built a two-touch lead and went on to take the bout, 15-13.
“The last time I fenced him he wasn’t at home. He was definitely a bit more pumped up this time. But, overall, I don’t think I executed my game plan,” Homer said.
“I was definitely aiming for a medal today, so I’m a little disappointed. I wanted to do better. I prepared really hard for this tournament,” said Homer who placed in the top eight at three tournaments on the World Cup circuit this season and finished 18th in Budapest. “I didn’t execute my game plan properly. I could have done a better job of using the strip a little more on defense and pushing my own attacks, but I definitely learned lessons for the future.”
Homer said he is driven by his experience in London where he placed sixth and continues to be motivated to reach the podium.
“I’d say London taught me never to settle. I want to be on the podium at every competition. I think before London I kind of was ok with doing well at competitions as long as I thought I’d fenced well and now I know that it’s important to fence well, but I want to go that extra step and be on the podium,” Homer said.
Two-time Junior World Team member Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass.) came into the table of 64 as the 21st seed after an undefeated run in pools on Monday.
Dershwitz fenced 2011 Junior World Champion Matyas Szabo (GER) in the table of 64 and held an 8-7 lead at the break, but Szabo outscored the 17-year-old, 8-4, in the second period to win the bout, 15-12. Dershwitz finished 36th in his Senior World debut.
Jeff Spear (Wynantskill, N.Y.), Homer’s teammate in London, entered the table of 64 as the 43rd seed at his first Senior Worlds.
Spear and Romanian Alin Badea crashed into each other during the second period and both athletes went down. Badea requested an injury timeout and returned 10 minutes later prepared for action. Spear tied the bout at 11, but Badea scored four of the next six touches to win the bout, 15-13. Badea would go on to place in the top eight and Spear finished 47th.
Homer, Ochocki, Dershwitz and Spear will fence in the team event on Saturday. Like the women’s foil team, the men’s saber squad advanced to the quarter-finals in 2011; however, this year’s team includes several new faces.
“We do have a new team with Eli Dershwitz who’s a new addition and Aleks Ochocki. We’re hoping Eli can bring youthful enthusiasm and run the tempo, use the whole strip and really wreak havoc for our opponents. We’re hoping Aleks can bring his leadership, his sharp skills and tactics, but it’s definitely going to be a new experience for all of us. We’re looking forward to competing together. We’re all really good friends so we’re definitely being positive and we’re going to do well together,” Homer said.
Competition continues on Thursday with the men’s and women’s individual epee events.
Follow the results for all Senior World Championship events live at http://www.engarde-service.com/files/wch2013/wch2013/.
The competition schedule on Thursday is as follows:
Thursday, Aug. 8
Men's Individual Epee Round of 64
Men’s Individual Epee Round of 32
Men’s Individual Epee Round of 16
Men’s Individual Epee Quarter-finals
Women’s Individual Epee Round of 64
Women’s Individual Epee Round of 32
Women’s Individual Epee Round of 16
Women's Individual Epee Quarter-finals
Men’s Individual Epee Semifinals
Women’s Individual Epee Semfinals
Men’s Individual Epee Finals
Women’s Individual Epee Finals
Top eight and U.S. results are as follows:
Women’s Individual Foil
1. Arianna Errigo (ITA)
2. Carolin Golubytskyi (GER)
3. Inna Deriglazova (RUS)
3. Elisa Di Francisca (ITA)
5. Larisa Korobeynikova (RUS)
6. Diana Yakovleva (RUS)
7. Carolina Erba (ITA)
8. Valentina Vezzali (ITA)
15. Nicole Ross (New York City, N.Y.)
17. Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.)
18. Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
44. Margaret Lu (Greenwich, Conn.)
Men’s Individual Saber
1. Veniamin Reshetnikov (RUS)
2. Nikolay Kovalev (RUS)
3. Tiberiu Dolniceanu (ROU)
3. Aron Szilagyi (HUN)
5. Enrico Berre (ITA)
6. Max Hartung (GER)
7. Csanad Gemesi (HUN)
8. Andras Szatmari (HUN)
18. Daryl Homer (Bronx, N.Y.)
36. Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass.)
44. Aleksander Ochocki (Linden, N.J.)
47. Jeff Spear (Wynantskill, N.Y.)
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