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Kiefer and Prescod Place Sixth and Seventh at Havana Foil Grand Prix

03/15/2015, 3:30pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Lee Kiefer (left) defeated 2013 Junior World Champion Camilla Mancini (ITA) in the opening round. Photo Credit: Augusto Bizzi / FederScherma.

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – London Olympians Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.) and Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.) each earned top-eight finishes at the Havana Foil Grand Prix in Cuba on Saturday.

Kiefer placed sixth and Prescod finished seventh at the second of three Grand Prix tournaments this season. In addition to this being Kiefer’s fourth top-eight result of the season, her finish also propels Kiefer up to No. 3 in the world rankings.

Seeded fourth and 14th in the tournament, respectively, both Kiefer and Prescod were exempt from the pools and preliminary rounds on Friday and advanced directly into the table of 64 on Saturday.

Kiefer came out with a 6-3 first period lead against 2013 Junior World Champion Camilla Mancini (ITA) and finished the table of 64 bout at 15-11.

Prescod drew her 2012 Junior World teammate, Sara Taffel (New York, N.Y.), in the 64. With Prescod up, 12-6, in the second period, Taffel made a 6-2 run before Prescod closed out the win, 15-12.

In the table of 32, Kiefer fenced a second member of the Italian Team – 2004 Junior World silver medalist Serena Teo. The bout remained close from start to finish with the score tied at five after the first period and 11 after the second. Although Teo took the first two touches in the third, Kiefer outscored the Italian, 4-1, for a 15-14 victory.

Prescod trailed Anne Sauer (GER), 9-6, after the first period of their table of 32 bout, but fought back in the second for a 15-11 win.

Kiefer’s table of 16 bout against two-time Senior World team medalist Astrid Guyart (FRA) would come down to the wire with Guyart leading 9-7 early in the second period and Kiefer scoring four straight to regain a lead at 11-9. Guyart came within a touch of Kiefer at 14-13, but the American scored the final touch to win the bout, 15-13.

In her table of 16 bout, Prescod controlled the first period against Hye Mi Oh (KOR) and give up just one touch for a 6-1 score. Prescod grew her lead to 13-7 at the second break and finished the bout, 15-10.

Following their table of 16 victories, Kiefer and Prescod secured the first double top-eight result at a Grand Prix for the U.S. Women’s Foil Team since Prescod won gold in Marseille in 2013 and Kiefer placed sixth.

While Kiefer trailed 2009 Senior World medalist Hee Sook Jeon (KOR) after both the first and second periods (5-3 and 10-7, respectively), she tied the score at 14 late in the third to send the bout into overtime. Jeon scored first in the overtime period and won the bout, 15-14.

Fencing 2013 Senior World medalist Inna Deriglazova (RUS) in her quarter-final, Prescod was down, 8-3, early in the second period, but came back to tie the bout at nine by the second break. With Prescod up, 13-12, late in the third, Deriglazova scored a touch to tie the bout. In the overtime period, Prescod was awarded priority and neither athlete scored for most of the minute until the Russian pushed Prescod back to the end of the strip and scored the winning touch with 13 seconds on the clock.

Deriglazova, who also defeated Team USA’s Madison Zeiss (Culver City, Calif.) in the table of 64, went on to win the silver medal behind World No. 2 Elisa Di Francisca (ITA).

Ranked No. 1 in the United States, Kiefer reached a career-high No. 3 in the world following her sixth-place finish. Following surgery that kept her out of this season’s events until January, Prescod moves up to 13th after her third international appearance of the season.

As the top two fencers in the National Team Point Standings, Kiefer and Prescod also secured positions on both the 2015 Pan American Zonal and Senior World Championship Teams. Although Prescod is just 22-years-old and Kiefer is 20, this marks the sixth Senior World Championships appearance for both athletes.

In addition to Taffel and Zeiss, three of Kiefer and Prescod’s teammates advanced to the table of 64 after the pool and preliminary rounds.

Four-time Junior World medalist Margaret Lu (Greenwich, Conn.) needed a season-best result in Havana in order to qualify for her third Senior World Team and her tournament started off on a high note when she went undefeated in the pools to take the 21st seed in the table of 64. Lu led her bout against Valentina Cipriani (ITA), 8-5, after the first period, but the Italian outscored Lu, 10-3, in the second for a 15-11 win.

London Olympian Nicole Ross (New York, N.Y.) kept her table of 64 bout against Marta Lyczbinska (POL) close in the first period, but Lycznbinska went on a 10-touch run in the second and third to win the bout, 15-3. With three top-32 results on the World Cup circuit as well as a top-16 in Cancun this season, Ross retains the No. 3 position in the national point standings and will fence with Prescod and Kiefet at the Senior Worlds for a fifth time.

The reigning Youth Olympic Games Champion, Sabrina Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) earned a bye into the table of 64 with a 5-1 pool result. Massialas held a 7-6 lead after her first period against her first DE opponent, Gabriella Varga (HUN), but Varga controlled the second period and held off a late comeback by Massialas to win the bout, 15-12. Despite the loss, Massialas remains fourth in the team standings and will qualify for her first Senior World Team as an individual fencer after competing in the team event at the 2014 Senior Worlds.

Click here to view complete results.

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

Havana Women’s Foil Grand Prix
1. Elisa Di Francisca (ITA)
2. Inna Deriglazova (RUS)
3. Hee Sook Jeon (KOR)
3. Ysaora Thibus (FRA)
5. Valentina Vezzali (ITA)
6. Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.)
7. Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

8. Aida Shaeva (RUS)

35. Margaret Lu (Greenwich, Conn.)
41. Nicole Ross (New York, N.Y.)
43. Sabrina Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)
53. Sara Taffel (New York, N.Y.)
60. Madison Zeiss (Culver City, Calif.)
81. Morgan Partridge (Swansea, Mass.)
89. Samantha Viqueira (Maplewood, N.J.)
98. Jessie Laffey (Glen Ridge, N.J.)
111. Stefani Deschner (Mechanicsville, Va.)
113. Xiao-Qing Tsai (Salt Lake City, Utah)

Tag(s): News  Nicole Ross  Lee Kiefer  Nzingha Prescod  Sabrina Massialas