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Kelley Hurley and Daryl Homer Win Division I National Championships

04/25/2017, 6:00am CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Daryl Homer won his first individual Division I National Championship title in Baltimore.


Kelley Hurley tied sister Courtney's record for five women's epee individual Division I National titles.

(Baltimore, Md.) – Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) and Daryl Homer (Bronx, N.Y.) have competed together twice at the Olympic Games with each winning a medal, but the Division I National Championships would present each athlete with a new first fencing moment.

For Hurley, the competition on Friday saw the three-time Olympian win her fifth individual Division I National Championships gold – tying the women’s epee record of five which is held by her younger sister Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas).

For Homer, the win meant entrance into the National Champions Club with his first Division I individual title after a silver medal finish in 2016.

Both Hurley and Homer also would punch tickets to the 2017 Senior World Championship Team with 29-year-old Hurley qualifying for her 12th straight Senior World Team and 26-year-old Homer earning a position on his eighth straight Senior World Team.

In the preliminary rounds, Hurley dropped two pool bouts to end with a 16th seed and a bye into the table of 32 where she defeated 2015 NCAA Champion Isis Washington (Parsippany, N.J.), 15-13.

Hurley fenced a pair of up-and-coming cadets in the next two rounds, qualifying for the semifinals with victories over Joy Ma (Merrick, N.Y.) and Sannchi Kukadia (Manhasset, N.Y.) by 15-5 and 14-8 margins, respectively.

“I went into this really excited and then my pool matches were really difficult. I was having a hard time waking up for some reason, so I wasn’t looking too forward to DEs, but then everything came together and I started fencing really well,” Hurley said. “I think that seems to be a common theme of my fencing. I’m just not a morning person. So once I wake up and everything remembers how to move, it seemed to all come together.”

In the semis, Hurley would be pushed by Kasia Nixon (Los Angeles, Calif.) who was coming off a silver medal win at the Junior World Championships earlier this month.

With the score tied at six in the first period, Nixon picked up two singles to build moment into the second with an 8-6 lead. With Nixon up, 12-11, in the second, Hurley came back to tie the bout at 13 and score a single with 25 seconds left in the period. After the break, Hurley doubled out for a 15-14 win.

“Honestly, the whole time I felt like I could win it. It’s just a matter of how much energy I wanted to put into it. I decided sort of towards the middle end that I really wanted to try for it. I really had to dig deep,” Hurley said.

Hurley expected her sister, Courtney to come through the other side of the bracket for an All-Hurley final, but their Rio Olympic teammate, Kat Holmes (Washington, D.C.) proved to be the spoiler, earning her first career DE win against Courtney, 11-10, in overtime during the other semifinal.

Hurley led the bout, 4-3, at the first break, but Holmes went on a 5-1 run in the second for an 8-5 lead. Although Hurley tied the bout at nine, Holmes scored two singles to pull away again. Hurley answered with two singles of her own to end the second with a tie at 11. With the score tied again at 13, Holmes took the first single and Hurley responded with one of her own for a tie at 14. As she had for most of the period, Hurley continued to press Holmes to the back of the strip and take the winning single and end the bout, 15-14.

“I felt like I was playing catchup the whole match. I’d be down three touches and then I’d get this burst of energy and then I would get tired and then I would lose two touches and then I’d get back in there and get two touches to tie it and then I’d get tired and I’d lose two touches,” Hurley said. “That’s what happened at the very end. I got a couple touches and then I was down, 14-13, and then I was like ‘Ok, use all of your energy. You just need to finish these last two.’”

Both Hurleys took time off after the Rio Olympic Games where the U.S. Women’s Epee Team finished fifth and this is the second national win of the season for Hurley who took gold at the December Noroth American Cup.

“I’m so happy. We’ve been training for this, so I feel like this is really how I’m starting off my season,” said Hurley who is focused on being prepared for the Senior World Championships in July in Leipzig, Germany.

After taking much of the last season to finish her master’s degree in public health at the University of Texas at San Antonio, Kelley recently purchased a house with Courtney in Houston where the two will live and train as they seek to qualify for a third Games together.

“This last week is my last week of classes, so I don’t have to go back and forth anymore so I can focus purely on fencing and lessons. I haven’t gotten enough lessons lately which is probably the reason why I was a little bit winded at the end – because lessons with Andrey are really important. So I’m going to get back into the swing of things and keep working hard. I’m looking forward to getting back into the routine,” Kelley Hurley said.

While she had considered retirement after Rio to pursue medical school, Kelley announced two weeks ago that she and Courtney would both be returning in a bid to qualify for another Olympic Games. This time, however, women’s epee may only be contested as an individual event – meaning that a maximum of two slots could be on the line for the Americans.

But the Hurleys remain committed to going to Tokyo together.

“Rio didn’t go exactly how we all hoped. There were too many close matches and it was really disappointing and I remember thinking ‘I don’t want to retire on that.’ I feel like my career deserves a better ending than that,” Kelley Hurley said. “Especially since we’ve been working with Andrey and I’ve had some of the best results of my career leading up to the Olympics. I thought I wanted to end on a better Olympics. I needed that for my sanity and I’ve been at this for so long that I didn’t want to go out like that.” 

The Division I Nationals also marked the final selection tournament for the Senior World Championship Team. The Hurleys will compete together again for the 10th time at the Senior Worlds where they will be joined by Holmes who fenced at the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Senior Worlds as well as Anna van Brummen (Houston, Texas) who competed at the 2014 and 2015 Senior Worlds.

In the men’s saber event, Homer entered the tournament as the reigning Olympic silver medalist and favorite for gold, but his London Olympic teammate, Jeff Spear (Wynantskill, N.Y.) entered the competition as the No. 2 seed who upset Homer, 15-14, to win his second Division I National Championship in 2016.

Although the top fencers in the world rarely compete in pool bouts on the international circuit, Homer ended the preliminary rounds in a three-way tie for first with a 6-0 pool result.

After a bye into the 32, Homer defeated Charles Rohrlack (Chicago, Ill.), 15-7, and squeaked out a 15-14 win over 2012 Junior World Team member Michael Costin (Culver City, Calif.) in the table of 16.

In the quarters, Homer would fence 2011 Junior World Team member Evan Prochniak (Hudson, N.H.) who was one of three fencers in contention for the fourth position on this year’s Senior World Team as the No. 7 fencer in the nation. Up, 8-3, at the break, Homer controlled the second period for a 15-9 win.

The semifinals would match Homer against Spear with Homer taking an 8-6 lead at the break and Spear pushing to keep the bout within a touch in the second period. Homer closed out the bout, however, at 15-12.

On the other side of the bracket, 2014 Junior World Team bronze medalist Geoffrey Loss (Laguna Beach, Calif.) was making a run at qualifying for his first Senior World Team after a career-high top-32 result at the Cancun Grand Prix put him within striking distance of the national squad.

Loss secured his position on the team, with a 15-13 win against cadet fencer Mitchell Saron (Ridgewood, N.J.) who earned his first Division I National Championships podium result after defeating two-time Senior World Team member Peter Souders (Silver Spring, Md.), 15-13, in the 16.

Loss, who moved up from No. 5 to No. 4 in the National Team Point Standings, joins Homer, Spear and 2016 Olympian Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass.) on the team.

With Loss up, 2-1, at the start of the bout, Homer scored six straight to take a 7-2 lead and gave up just two more touches to stay ahead at 8-4 going into the break. Loss came within three at 10-7, but Homer went on to win the bout, 15-10.

Although Homer has won silver medals at both the Olympic Games and Senior Worlds, he maintained that he was focused on filling the gap in his athletic resume.

“I had a very clear focus and I set out really wanting to win this year. It was very very important. Especially because the people I’m around now are all National Champions, so I was kind of the odd guy out,” Homer said. “I didn’t think I had my best stuff today, but I was able to pull out a lot of really good matches. I think everything’s a lot more competitive at the domestic level now which is great. We had a lot of good competition for this year’s team and I’m just excited to get ready for the World Championships and the World Cup circuit in May and see where I can go.”

With two more international tournaments in May, followed by the Pan Am Championships in June, Homer is looking forward to competing at Senior Worlds with a strong team after reaching a career high No. 1 in the team event last season.

“I’m really really excited with the team we have, with the new people and returning faces. I think we’re more talented than ever now and we have the experience and everyone is really really hungry,” Homer said.

In the wheelchair men’s epee event, 27-year-old C.J. Fleck (Sicklerville, N.J.) won gold in his debut as a wheelchair fencer. The former able-bodied Div II National silver medalist defeated Randy Lavender (Tupelo, Miss.), 15-2, in the quarters and 2013 Wheelchair World Team member Curt Oswalt (Von Ormy, Texas), 15-9, in the semis. In the finals, Fleck bested Andrew Quattrociocchi (Marietta, Ga.), 15-12, to win gold.

Melissa Chandler (Salt Lake City, Utah) followed her 2016 Wheelchair National title in foil with a gold in epee in Baltimore. The top seed in the field, Chandler defeated Shelby Jensen (Salt Lake City, Utah), 15-5, in the semis and 2016 Paralympian Lauryn DeLuca (Parma, Ohio), 15-8, in the finals.

Twelve events were held in the April North American Cup with 10 titles awarded to veteran fencers and two in Division III events.

In the veteran men’s 50-59 epee event, 1992 Olympian Chris O’Loughlin (Jersey City, N.J.) won his first NAC title as a vet fencer. O’Loughlin met Evan Ranes (Henderson, Nev.) in the final after Ranes defeated O’Loughlin’s Olympic teammate, Jon Normile (McLean, Va.), 10-7, in the quarters. O’Loughlin controlled the bout for a 10-3 win, putting himself in contention to return to Team USA as a veteran fencer during his first season of eligibility.

A pair of Veteran World Champions won gold in the 60-69 and +70 men’s epee events. Walter Dragonetti (Elyria, Ohio), a 2009 Vet World Champion as a 50-59 fencer, defeated 2011 Vet World silver medalist Jere Bothelio (San Jose, Calif.), 10-4, in the 60-69 gold medal final. Arnold Messing (Brooklyn, N.Y.), the reigning Vet World Champion in the +70 event, earned his fourth straight national title, 10-4, over 2016 Vet World bronze medalist Frank Hewitt (Jamul, Calif.)

In the veteran 40-49 men’s epee event, 2015 Vet National Champion Keith Lichten (Oakland, Calif.) defeated 2016 Vet National Champion Michael LoParco (Houston, Texas), 10-4, in the gold medal final.

A former NCAA All-American and Pan American Junior Champion, Jane Carter (Bedford, Mass.) fenced in her first NAC as a foil fencer in the veteran 50-59 event and came away with gold. Carter, who last fenced on the national circuit in 2013, drew third-ranked Margaret Fagan (New York City, N.Y.) in the final bout, taking a 10-6 win over Fagan who recently moved up to the 50-59 category after winning bronze in the 40-49 event at the 2016 Summer Nationals.

The reigning Veteran World Champion as a 60-69 foil fencer, Jennette Starks-Faulkner (Middletown, Conn.) continued her undefeated streak in Baltimore, winning her third straight national title. In a rematch of their final from the December NAC, Starks-Faulkner defeated 2015 Veteran World Champion Anne-Marie Walters (Parkland, Fla.), 10-2.

Four-time individual Veteran World medalist Patricia Bedrosian (Malibu, Calif.) won her first national title in the +70 foil event with a 10-7 finals win over 2011 Vet World bronze medalist Bettie Graham (Washington, D.C.)

Mal-Sun Marletto (Jewett City, N.J.) continued a dominant run in the women’s 40-49 foil event. Marletto earned her fourth straight gold medal as a 40-49 foil fencer when she clinched the gold, 10-7, over Ida Choy (Portsmouth, N.H.)

At the 2016 April NAC, Kwangsuk Chung (Des Moines, Wash.) swept the veteran 40-49 and veteran open foil events. On Friday, Chung appeared to be on his way for a repeat with a 10-5 win against Thomas Bryan (Durham, N.C.) in the veteran open finals.

The No. 1 veteran 40-49 women’s saber fencer in the nation, Kate Sierra (North Richland Hills, Texas) opened her weekend at the NAC with a win in the veteran open saber competition. Sierra fenced fellow 40-49 fencer Clare Deming (Garwood, N.J.) in the finals, winning the bout, 10-3.

Both of the Division III events held on Friday were won by collegiate fencers.

A member of the UMass Fencing Club Team, Adam Shanahan (Franklin, Mass.) began the day as an E-rated fencer in the Division III men’s saber event and came home with gold in his third appearance on the NAC circuit. Shanahan fenced Linus Dannull (Durham, N.C.) in the finals and took the bout, 15-14.

Anna Gooch (Sierra Madre, Calif.), a senior on the Tufts University Fencing Team, last stood on the NAC podium in 2011 when she won bronze as a Division III epee fencer. Fencing on the NAC circuit for the first time since the 2014 Summer Nationals, Gooch returned to the Division III epee event where she defeated Darby Haskel (Denver, Colo.), 15-12, in the finals.

For complete results, visit http://www.usfencing.org/apr2017nac.

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

Division I Women’s Epee National Championships
1. Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas)
2. Kat Holmes (Washington, D.C.)
3. Kasia Nixon (Los Angeles, Calif.)
3. Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Calif.)
5. Margherita Guzzi Vincenti (Elm Grove, Wis.)
6. Sancchi Kukadia (Manhasset, N.Y.)
7. Ariana Mangano (Colts Neck, N.J.)
8. Chloe Daniel (Sierra Madre, Calif.)

Division I Men’s Saber National Championships
1. Daryl Homer (Bronx, N.Y.)
2. Geoffrey Loss (Laguna Beach, Calif.)
3. Grant Williams (Atlanta, Ga.)
3. Jeff Spear (Wynantskill, N.Y.)
5. Christopher Walker (Atlanta, Ga.)
6. Mitchell Saron (Ridgewood, N.J.)
7. Jonah Shainberg (Rye, N.Y.)
8. Evan Prochniak (Hudson, N.H.)

Wheelchair Men’s Epee National Championships
1. C.J. Fleck (Sicklerville, N.J.)
2. Andrew Quattrociocchi (Marietta, Ga.)
3. Curt Oswalt (Von Ormy, Texas)
3. Curtis Lovejoy (College Park, Ga.)
5. Josh Russell (Mendenhall, Miss.)
6. Tim Volkers (Holland, Mich.)
7. Tyler Van Haitsma (Hudsonville, Mich.)
8. Randy Lavender (Tupelo, Miss.)

Wheelchair Women’s Epee National Championships
1. Melissa Chandler (Salt Lake City, Utah)
2. Lauryn DeLuca (Parma, Ohio)
3. Shelby Jensen (Salt Lake City, Utah)
3. Hailey Bauer (Firth, Neb.)
5. Andrea Hampton (Grand Rapids, Mich.)

Veteran 40-49 Men’s Epee April North American Cup
1. Keith Lichten (Oakland, Calif.)
2. Michael LoParco (Houston, Texas)
3. Mehmet Tepedelenlioglu (La Honda, Calif.)
3. Kashi Way (Rockville, Md.)
5. Brian Stone (Strongsville, Ohio)
6. Jeffrey Snider (Vienna, Va.)
7. Yuriy Benkler (Reisterstown, Va.)
8. Cassidy Kovanda (Lincoln, Neb.)

Veteran 50-59 Men’s Epee April North American Cup
1. Chris O’Loughlin (Jersey City, N.J.)
2. Evan Ranes (Henderson, Nev.)
3. Carl Loeffler (Santa Monica, Calif.)
3. Bela Suveg (CAN)
5. Jon Normile (McLean, Va.)
6. Daniel Rees (Denver, Colo.)
7. Michael Perka (Mountain View, Calif.)
8. Timothy Gillham (Madison, Wis.)

Veteran 60-69 Men’s Epee April North American Cup
1. Walter Dragonetti (Elyria, Ohio)
2. Jere Bothelio (San Jose, Calif.)
3. John Moreau (San Marcos, Calif.)
3. John Lartz (River Forest, Ill.)
5. Elliott Schwartz (Baltimore, Md.)
6. James Beihold (Glendale, Calif.)
7. Ommer Bruce (San Jose, Calif.)
8. Drew Ridge (Warminster, Pa.)

Veteran +70 Men’s Epee April North American Cup
1. Arnold Messing (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
2. Frank Hewitt (Jamul, Calif.)
3. Kazimieras Campe (Edgewater, Md.)
3. Jonathan Jefferies (Alameda, Calif.)
5. Bruno Goossens (Jacksonville, Ore.)
6. Jim Adams (Rockville, Md.)
7. Theodore Pary (Highland, Md.)
8. Joel Spielberg (Cary, N.C.)

Veteran 40-49 Women’s Foil April North American Cup
1. Mal-Sun Marletto (Jewett City, N.J.)
2. Ida Choy (Portsmouth, N.H.)
3. Allison Thurman (Gaithersburg, Md.)
3. Claire Lee (Indianapolis, Ind.)
5. Nadia Dreyer (Fairfax, Va.)
6. Cynthia Lucente (Richmond, Va.)
7. Ann Totemeier (Boulder, Colo.)
8. Lesley Chapman (Madison, N.Y.)

Veteran 50-59 Women’s Foil April North American Cup
1. Jane Carter (Bedford, Mass.)
2. Margaret Fagan (New York City, N.Y.)
3. Ursula Szpak (Trophy Club, Texas)
3. Michelle Verhave (Purdys, N.Y.)
5. Sparna Vashisht (Los Gatos, Calif.)
6. Monica Morrison (Seattle, Wash.)
7. Lynn Botelho (Indiana, Pa.)
8. Ana Brainard (Bellevue, Wash.)

Veteran 60-69 Women’s Foil April North American Cup
1. Jennette Starks-Faulkner (Middletown, Conn.)
2. Anne-Marie Walters (Parkland, Fla.)
3. Nora Gutkovskaya (Fair Lawn, N.J.)
3. Suzanne Brown Marx (Portland, Ore.)
5. Sharone Huey (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
6. Jude Offerle (Winnetka, Ill.)
7. Agota Balot (Tinton Falls, N.J.)
8. Lynnette Whitt (Owings, Md.)

Veteran +70 Women’s Foil April North American Cup
1. Patricia Bedrosian (Malibu, Calif.)
2. Bettie Graham (Washington, D.C.)
3. Ruth Dodge (Loudon, N.H.)
3. Gemin Channing (Frederick, Md.)
5. Diane Reckling
6. Marsha Reichman
7. Mary Turzillo

Veteran Open Men’s Foil April North American Cup
1. Kwangsuk Chung (Des Moines, Wash.)
2. Thomas Bryan (Durham, N.C.)
3. Nathan Anderson (Denver, Colo.)
3. David Willey (La Mesa, Calif.)
5. David Chen (Radnor, Pa.)
6. Leon Sanchez (Cambridge, Mass.)
7. Ed Kaihatsu (Skokie, Ill.)
8. Jim Voelz (Wauwatosa, Wis.)

Veteran Open Women’s Saber April North American Cup
1. Kate Sierra (North Richland Hills, Texas)
2. Clare Deming (Garwood, N.J.)
3. Leigh Altman (Keller, Texas)
3. Miyako Derose (New York City, N.Y.)
5. Barbara Shinn-Cunningham (Lexington, Mass.)
6. Kelly Dewsnup (Provo, Utah)
7. Beth Vance (Clarkston, Mich.)
8. Lynn Zhang (Portland, Ore.)

Division III Women’s Epee April North American Cup
1. Anna Gooch (Sierra Madre, Calif.)
2. Darby Haskel (Denver, Colo.)
3. Margaret Barrett (Denver, Colo.)
3. Alexandra Gillis (Dix Hills, N.Y.)
5. Aeryn O’Reilly (Akron, Ohio)
6. Audrey Chu (San Jose, Calif.)
7. Margaret Cheng (Jericho, N.Y.)
8. Gabriel Watson (New York City, N.Y.)

Division III Men’s Saber North American Cup
1. Adam Shanahan (Franklin, Mass.)
2. Linus Dannull (Durham, N.C.)
3. Andrew Atschinow (Skillman, N.J.)
3. Oliver Copeland (Los Angeles, Calif.)
5. Bradley Kaufman
6. Leighton Priest
7. Zachary Wolin
8. Nicholas Wu

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