skip navigation

U.S. Women’s Epee Team Finalized for Rio with Kat Holmes and Katarzyna Trzopek

03/21/2016, 6:45am CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

The 2016 U.S. Olympic Women's Epee Team fencers Kat Holmes, Courtney Hurley, Kelley Hurley and Katarzyna Trzopek with Coach Andrey Geva. Photo Credit: Andrey Geva

Kat Holmes earned the final women's individual epee position on Team USA. Photo Credit: Serge Timacheff / FIE /

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Three-time Senior World Team member Kat Holmes (Washington, D.C.) laid claim to the final individual women’s epee position for Team USA at the Olympic Games on Saturday at the Budapest Grand Prix when her 6-0 result in the pool rounds guaranteed her a position in the table of 64 on Sunday and enough points to secure her position on Team USA.

Holmes, a two-time All-American, is taking the year off from Princeton to qualify for her first Olympic Games and has had one of her most successful years on the World Cup circuit, earning three top-16 results as well as a bronze medal at the 2015 Pan Am Championships and a gold at the Pan Am Games.

Formerly ranked No. 1 in the United States, Holmes came into the Budapest Grand Prix as the No. 3 fencer in the USA Fencing National Team Standings with the top three fencers after the USA Fencing Division I National Championships in April earning positions in both the individual and team events in Rio. The No. 4 fencer in the standings will be named as the replacement athlete for the team event only

Holmes would be seeking to join two-time Olympian Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) and 2012 Olympian Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) who secured their positions on Team USA after the Buenos Aires World Cup in Argentina last month. The Hurleys made up the core of the team that won bronze at the 2012 Games and Team USA is seeking to return to the podium after a season that included a pair of bronzes at the first two World Cups last year.

One of Holmes’s greatest opponents for the No. 3 position, however, would be her teammate, Katarzyna Trzopek (Pacifica, Calif.) A former fencer for Poland, Trzopek came to the United States to fence at Penn State where she won NCAA titles in 2003 and 2006. She began competing for the United States in 2014 and not only qualified for the Senior World Team the following year, but earned a top-eight result at the Legnano World Cup last fall.

In order to keep the race for No. 3 going with Holmes, however, Trzopek would need to at least match her teammate’s result in Budapest. After Holmes posted the 6-0 result in pools, the pressure was on for Trzopek who finished 3-3 and had to win two preliminary direct elimination bouts to make the second day.

Trzopek edged Barbara Rutz (POL), 15-14, in the preliminary table of 128, but lost her next bout to Julia Kirschen (GER), 15-13.

Four other U.S. fencers were aiming to push past Trzopek in the rankings, but Francesca Bassa (Houston, Texas), Lindsay Campbell (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Anna van Brummen (Houston, Texas) and Natalie Vie (Phoenix, Ariz.) each lost bouts in the preliminary tables and were unable to secure the points needed to move up to No. 4 in the standings.

Despite her loss in the prelim tables, Trzopek remains No. 4 in the rankings and her success at both domestic and international tournaments over the past year means that, like Holmes, she cannot be passed by any of her teammates at the Nationals in Richmond and her position as the replacement athlete has been mathematically secured.

Holmes and Trzopek are the 14th and 15th athletes to have mathematically qualified for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Fencing Team. All 17 athletes will be nominated to the team in April. All athletes are subject to approval by the U.S. Olympic Committee. 

On Sunday, Holmes entered the second day of competition with the pressure of qualification off for the first time in a year.

Holmes defeated two-time Senior World medalist Anfisa Pochkalova (UKR), 15-13, in the table of 64 to qualify for the table of 32.

In her next bout, Holmes held a 7-2 lead in the final minute of her bout against 2012 Olympic team silver medalist Injeong Choi (KOR). Choi cut Holmes’ lead to two touches at 9-7 in the final 10 seconds, but Holmes held on to finish the bout with a 12-10 win.

Holmes faced 2015 Senior World medalist Anqi Xu (CHN) and gave the No. 3 seed a close run, tying the bout at seven in the final minute. Xu scored the next single, however, putting Holmes on the offensive. While Holmes kept pursuing quick attacks, Xu remained in control and brought the score to 14-7 at the end of the period. Xu later went on to win not only the gold medal, but earn the No. 1 world ranking by the end of the tournament.

Kelley Hurley was exempt from pools and entered the table of 64 as the No. 16 seed.

In the 64, Hurley and two-time Senior World team medalist Francesca Quondamcarlo (ITA) took a passivity call in the first period and were tied at six at the end of the second. The two were tied again at 13 going into the final minute. Hurley picked up a single and doubled out for a 15-14 win.

Hurley’s table of 32 opponent, 2012 Olympic Champion Yana Shemyakina (UKR) held a 7-4 lead at the first break which Hurley cut to 7-6 early in the second period. Shemyakina fenced strongly for the next two minutes, going on an 8-4 run to end the match at 15-10.

In the men’s event, Jason Pryor (South Euclid, Ohio) was Team USA’s only entrant in the table of 64. Pryor, who qualified for the Rio Olympic Games on Friday, lost his table of 64 bout to Zhen Li (CHN), 15-13.

Click here to view complete results.

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

Budapest Men’s Epee Grand Prix
1. Gauthier Grumier (FRA)
2. Enrico Garozzo (ITA)
3. Gabor Boczko (HUN)
3. Youngjun Kweon (KOR)
5. Geza Imre (HUN)
6. Fabian Kauter (SUI)
7. Yannick Borel (FRA)
8. Bas Verwijen (NED)

48. Jason Pryor (South Euclid, Ohio)
74. Alen Hadzic (New York City, N.Y.)
91. Dwight Smith (Elmont, N.Y.)
104. Alexander Tsinis (Little Neck, N.Y.)
119. Adam Rodney (New York City, N.Y.)
126. Dennis Kraft (Bloomfield, N.J.)
193. Ben Bratton (New York City, N.Y.)
212. Yeisser Ramirez (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

Budapest Women’s Epee Grand Prix
1. Anqi Xu (CHN)
2. Sarra Besbes (TUN)
3. Tatyana Andryushina (RUS)
3. Tatiana Logunova (RUS)
5. Rossella Fiamingo (ITA)
5. Emese Szasz (HUN)
7. A Lam Shin (KOR)
8. Lyubov Shutova (RUS)

14. Katharine Holmes (Washington, D.C.)
21. Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas)
72. Natalie Vie (Phoenix, Ariz.)
73. Francesca Bassa (Houston, Texas)
78. Anna van Brummen (Houston, Texas)
84. Katarzyna Trzopek (Pacifica, Calif.)
85. Lindsay Campbell (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
112. Lydia Kopecky (New York City, N.Y.)
195. Lauren Wunderlich (Astoria, N.Y.)
200. Victoria Mo (Irvine, Calif.)


Tag(s): News  Courtney Hurley  Kelley Hurley  Kat Holmes