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Courtney Hurley Becomes First U.S. Women’s Epee Fencer to Medal at a Grand Prix

05/25/2014, 6:30pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Courtney Hurley celebrates her first Grand Prix medal with her U.S. teammates. Photo Credit: Andrey Geva.

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – London Olympic team medalist Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) made history on Friday when she became the first U.S. woman ever to medal at a Grand Prix in epee.

Hurley, who had previously placed in the top eight four times on the World Cup circuit, upset two Olympic medalists en route to claiming the silver at the Havana Epee Grand Prix in Cuba.

Seeded 12th in the tournament, Hurley was the only American to be exempt from the pools and preliminary rounds.

After a 15-7 win against Corinna Lawrence (GBR) in the table of 64, Hurley won her next bout against Bianca Del Carretto (ITA), 15-13.

In the table of 16, Hurley fenced 2012 Olympic silver medalist Britta Heidemann (GER) for the first time in an individual event since 2010. Although Heidemann led the bout, 10-5, Hurley fought back to take the victory, 15-13, and advance to the quarter-finals for the first time this season.

Hurley earned her first career victory over 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Yujie Sun (CHN), 15-10, in the quarter-finals.

With a medal secured, Hurley fenced three-time Senior World medalist Emese Szasz (HUN) in the semifinals. Hurley defeated the No. 2-ranked fencer in the world, 15-10, to fence for a chance at gold.

In the finals, Hurley trailed Jialu Hao (CHN), 14-12, but scored two singles to tie the bout. During the final exchange, Hao caught Hurley on the heel of her back leg to take the final touch and win the bout, 15-14.

On Monday, Hurley is expected to move into a top-eight world ranking for the first time in her senior career.

Five of Hurley’s teammates advanced to the table of 64 in a race to finalize the roster of four athletes who will compete at the Senior World Championships in Kazan in July.

Hurley’s older sister and London teammate, Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas), climbed to No. 1 in the U.S. rankings earlier this season after taking two North American Cup golds and a bronze at the St. Maur World Cup. Although Hurley dropped to No. 2 behind her sister in the domestic point standings after a 15-11 loss to Mingfang Yin (CHN), she qualified for her 10th straight Senior World Team.

Two-time Junior World medalist Katharine Holmes (Washington, D.C.) lost her bout against Simona Pop (ROU), 13-12, in overtime, but retained her position as No. 3 in the rankings to qualify for her second Senior World Team.

Anna Van Brummen (Houston, Texas), a two-time Junior World medalist, made her debut on the senior circuit this season and earned two top-32 finishes in her first three events to shoot up to No. 4 in the U.S. rankings. Van Brummen lost to Imke Duplitzer (GER), 15-13, in the table of 64.

Van Brummen’s 2014 Junior World teammate, Amanda Sirico (Bowie, Md.), came into the second day of competition as the 64th seed and drew 2008 Olympic silver medalist Ana Maria Branza (ROU) in the opening round. Although Sirico was in contention for a position on the Senior World Team at the start of the tournament, a 15-4 loss to Branza meant Sirico remained in fifth behind Van Brummen.

Francesca Bassa (Houston, Texas) advanced to the table of 64 for the second time this season, but lost by a touch to 2010 Junior World medalist Lauren Rembi (FRA), 15-14.

Click here to view complete results.

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

Havana Epee Grand Prix
1. Jialu Hao (CHN)
2. Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas)
3. Simona Ghermann (ROU)
3. Emese Szasz (HUN)
5. Yujie Sun (CHN)
6. Mara Navarria (ITA)
7. Tatiana Gudkova (RUS)
8. Pauline Brunner (SUI)

36. Anna Van Brummen (Houston, Texas)
38. Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas)
42. Katharine Holmes (Washington, D.C.)
56. Francesca Bassa (Houston, Texas)
64. Amanda Sirico (Bowie, Md.)
71. Natalie Vie (Phoenix, Ariz.)
110. Courtney Dumas (Shaker Heights, Ohio)

Tag(s): News  Courtney Hurley  Kelley Hurley  Anna van Brummen  Kat Holmes