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Courtney Hurley Places Seventh at the Rio de Janeiro Epee Grand Prix

04/23/2016, 10:30pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Courtney Hurley celebrates advancing to the quarters in Rio. Photo Credit: Nicole Jomantas

Courtney Hurley. Photo Credit: Nicole Jomantas

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – After a season of injuries, 2012 Olympic team medalist Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) not only came back to her first international event since qualifying for her second Olympic Games in February, but had one of her best results in Rio de Janeiro.

Fencing in the test event for the Games at the Carioca Arena 3, Hurley earned a top-eight result and nearly upset the World No. 1 with just over 100 days remaining before Opening Ceremony.

Hurley’s seventh place finish marks her first top-eight result since the Johannesburg World Cup in South Africa last May.

While she withdrew from the last Grand Prix in March to rehab an injury, Hurley said she was fencing pain-free and was pleased with her performance in Rio.

“This is like the first time I’m not bawling in tears right now because I’m feeling really good and satisfied with my fencing,” said Hurley who moved back up to a top-16 World Ranking with her result in Rio. “I think this was the best I fenced in a long time.”

Hurley fenced pools on Friday with two of her four U.S. teammates and advanced straight through to the table of 64 with a 5-1 result.

On Saturday, Hurley went 15-3 against Rayssa Costa (BRA) in the table of 64.

With Hurley holding a 3-0 lead against 2013 Senior World Champion Julia Beljajeva (EST) late in the first period, both fencers backed away with 12 seconds remaining in the first period. Instead of the bout going to a break, however, a passivity penalty was called and the fencers went straight into the second period.

Hurley scored seven more touches in the second period to grow her lead to 10-3 before closing with a 5-1 run in the third period and a 15-4 victory.

“Most of the day I was on my side of the strip instead of usually where I’m pushing it and on their side and today, for some reason, I’d get the first touch or two and I was able to stay back on my side of the strip. Usually I don’t get the first couple touches and then I have to push and then I get down again and then I have to push some more,” Hurley said.

In the table of 16, Hurley would fence Vivian Kong (HKG), a Stanford junior who upset 2010 Senior World medalist Nathalie Moellhausen (BRA), 13-12, in the previous round.

Hurley took the win, 15-11, against Kong, to qualify for the quarter-finals where she would fence World No. 1 Anqi Xu (CHN).

Hurley kept the bout close throughout the three periods and made up a two-touch deficit against Xu to tie the bout at 10 and force an overtime period. Xu drew priority and scored a single to take the win, 11-10.

“It could have gone better, but I was satisfied with catching up and tying it and that was my goal at the time and that was a good goal at the time, but once you get into priority it’s 50-50 and I probably should have attacked instead of waiting,” Hurley said.

Although the Grand Prix is a test event for the Games, Hurley noted that the feel of the event was similar to past tournaments in Rio – a city she has competed in at least five times on the circuit.

“It just felt like a regular Grand Prix. That will obviously change at the Olympics, but hopefully my luck continues in Rio. I really like Rio and I’ve always had good luck here. It’s always been a city I’ve done well in, so I’m hoping that carries over to the Olympics,” she said.

Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas), a 2012 Olympic team bronze medalist, and first-time Olympian Kat Holmes (Washington, D.C.) both earned exemptions into the table of 64, but neither advanced to the 32.

Hurley lost to 2015 Junior World Champion Coraline Vitalis (FRA), 15-14, and Holmes dropped her bout to Francesca Boscarelli (ITA), 15-9.

Click here to view complete results.

Competition continues on Sunday with the men’s epee Grand Prix where Jason Pryor (South Euclid, Ohio)

Top eight and U.S. results, including athletes who placed outside the top 64 on Friday, are as follows:

Rio de Janeiro Epee Grand Prix
1. Tatiana Logunova (RUS)
2. Anqi Xu (CHN)
3. Olga Kochneva (RUS)
3. Katrina Lehis (EST)
5. Yujie Sun (CHN)
6. Kristina Kuusk (EST)
7. Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas)
8. Josephine Jacques Andre Coquin (FRA)

34. Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas)
35. Kat Holmes (Washington, D.C.)
71. Katarzyna Trzopek (Pacifica, Calif.)
74. Natalie Vie (Phoenix, Ariz.)

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