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Courtney and Kelley Hurley Secure Rio Olympic Berths at the Buenos Aires Epee World Cup

02/17/2016, 8:45pm CST
By Nicole Jomantas

Courtney and Kelley Hurley with Coach Andrey Geva.

Sisters Courtney and Kelley Hurley will fence together at the Olympic Games in Rio.

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Together, sisters Courtney and Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) have fenced at a combined three Olympic Games, won team bronze together in London and brought home six medals on the World Cup circuit.

In August, the siblings who have topped the women’s epee rankings for nearly a decade will compete in their second Olympic Games together as both athletes earned enough points at the Buenos Aires Epee World Cup on Saturday to secure their positions on Team USA.

Although two more qualification events remain before the team is formally nominated to the U.S. Olympic Committee in April, Courtney and Kelley are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the National Team Point Standings and neither athlete can fall below third prior to team selection. The top three athletes in the NTPS as of April 11 will be nominated to Team USA to compete in the individual event with a fourth athlete being selected as the replacement athlete for the team competition.

Courtney Hurley went undefeated in the pools on Friday to qualify for the table of 64 and secured her position on Team USA with a 15-6 win against 2015 Junior World bronze medalist Xue Qin (CHN).

In the table of 32, Courtney lost to two-time individual Senior World medalist Irina Embrich (EST), 15-6, and Embrich went on to win silver.

Courtney Hurley finished 19th overall to move up to No. 1 in the National Team Point Standings.

Exempt from pools due to her top-16 world ranking, Kelley Hurley faced 2013 Senior World Champion Julia Beljajeva (EST) in the table of 64. Hurley missed advancing to the 32 with a 15-13 loss, but her 37th place result locked her into a berth for the Rio Games.

The Rio Games will be the second for Courtney and third for Kelley who also competed in 2008. The Hurleys join four of their 2015 Senior World teammates on the list of U.S. athletes who have secured their positions in Rio, including:

  • Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore. / Women’s Saber), two-time Olympic Champion and five-time Senior World Champion
  • Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J. / Women’s Saber), 2014 Senior World Team Champion
  • Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif. / Men’s Foil), 2012 Olympian and two-time Senior World medalist
  • Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif. / Men’s Foil), 2008 and 2012 Olympian and three-time Senior World medalist

Katarzyna Trzopek (Pacifica, Calif.), a 2015 Senior World Team member, defeated Melissa Goram (FRA), 15-8, in the preliminary table of 64 to qualify for the second day. Trzopek lost to 2014 Senior World team silver medalist Kristina Kuusk (EST), 15-12, in the table of 64. Ranked fourth in the National Team Point Standings, Trzopek continues to attempt to close the gap between herself and No. 3 Kat Holmes (Washington, D.C.) – a three-time Senior World medalist who was eliminated on the first day.

Natalie Vie (Phoenix, Ariz.), a former National Champion, and Jessie Radanovich (Tollhouse, Calif.), a 2012 Cadet World medalist, each advanced to the second day as well with Vie going 6-0 in the pools and Radanovich finishing the round 5-1 in her Senior World Cup debut.

In the table of 64, Vie lost to Alexandra Ndolo (GER), 15-12, and Radanovich lost to 2013 Senior World Team Champion Tatyana Andryushina (RUS), 15-14.

Radanovich’s finish allowed her to move up to No. 6 in the standings while Vie currently sits in 13th.

On Sunday, Trzopek, Holmes and the Hurleys fenced in the team competition. While the event was the final qualifying opportunity for Teams to earn slots in Rio, Team USA entered the competition with the luxury of having mathematically secured a team berth after the last World Cup in Barcelona.

Kelley Hurley put up 14 points for Team USA in its match against Sweden in the table of 16 to give the Americans a 23-21 lead. In the anchor leg, Courtney scored 10 touches against Emma Samuelsson who forced a tie at 33. In the overtime period, Courtney scored first, giving Team USA the win and ending Sweden’s hopes for Olympic qualification.

In the quarter-finals, Kelley led the U.S. team in scoring again with 14 touches, but the Americans were overpowered by top-seeded Romania who took the match, 45-27.

Fencing Korea, the 2012 Olympic silver medalists, in the next match, Holmes and Kelley Hurley combined for 26 touches in the first eight bouts. With Korea down, 26-16, at the start of the anchor bout, Courtney split the ninth with Injeong Choi at eight touches each to end the match with a 34-24 win.

The Americans faced China, the 2012 Olympic Champions in the match for fifth place. Kelley scored 18 of Team USA’s touches, defeating two-time individual Senior World medalist Yujie Sun, 7-3, in the eighth. China held a 27-21 lead going into the final bout, however. Courtney Hurley fenced a close anchor bout against 2015 Senior World medalist Anqi Xu, but Xu won the bout, 15-12, and China claimed the match, 42-33.

Click here to view complete results.

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

Buenos Aires Women’s Individual Epee World Cup
1. Violetta Kolobova (RUS)
2. Irina Embrich (EST)
3. Simona Gherman (ROU)
3. Emma Samuelsson (SWE)
5. A Lam Shin (KOR)
6. Yiwen Sun (CHN)
7. Nozomi Sato (JPN)
8. Britta Heidemann (GER)

19. Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas)
37. Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas)
39. Natalie Vie (Phoenix, Ariz.)
44. Jessie Radanovich (Tollhouse, Calif.)
53. Katarzyna Trzopek (Pacifica, Calif.)
76. Francesca Bassa (Houston, Texas)
77. Victoria Mo (Irvine, Calif.)
93. Katharine Holmes (Washington, D.C.)
104. Lindsay Campbell (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
109. Lauren Wunderlich (Astoria, N.Y.)

Buenos Aires Women’s Team Epee World Cup
1. Romania
2. Russia
3. Estonia
4. Ukraine
5. China
6. USA
7. Italy
8. Korea

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