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Fencing: DeSmet and Hurley earn medals at tourney

Michael Todisco | Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Lone-Star State was kind to the Irish over break, as the fencing squad traveled south to post their own Texas-sized accomplishment. Junior Courtney Hurley and freshman Ariel DeSmet both earned medals at the tournament. In total, 21 Irish fencers competed in the Dallas North American Cup with 10 of the fencers notching top 20 finishes.

Courtney Hurley faced a formidable opponent in the finals of the Division 1 women’s epee competition — her older sister and former Irish fencer Kelley Hurley. Courtney fell to Kelley in the match 15-11, earning second place for the tournament.

Freshman Ariel DeSmet impressed coaches with his third place finish in the men’s Division 1 foil competition.

“Ariel was great all weekend,” assistant coach Ian Farr said. “All the coaches were very happy to see that result from him.”

Two other Irish fencers reached the medal round in Dallas. Senior Barron Nydam finished 7th in the saber event while Junior Enzo Castellani earned an eighth place finish in the foil.

Farr said that except for a few challenging matchups, two Irish fencers may have advanced further at Dallas. Junior foilist Reggie Bentley (18th) and senior saber Avery Zuck (11th) fell victim to difficult draws.

“Reggie was matched against someone who finished 5th in world championships, so if he doesn’t fence him he probably gets in,” Farr said. “Avery also had a tough draw against a fencer on the United States national team.”

Other top-20 finishers for the Irish were sophomore Lian Osier (9th, sabre), sophomore Jason Choy (14th, sabre), senior Hayley Reese (18th, foil) and senior Steve Kubik (19th, foil).

Overall Farr said he was pleased with what he saw in Dallas, but stressed that the Irish still have improvements to make before the end of season tournaments.

“We had a lot of good finishes and saw that there is a lot of room to work on, and now we have a good foundation for the rest of the season,” Farr said.

With the a few exceptions, Farr said that most of the competitors at Dallas will go on to represent the Irish at the NCAA championships. He said he sees the results from Dallas as an encouraging sign of things to come.

“We are comparable to the rest of the really good schools out there and will be competitive,” Farr said. “There are a lot of good things out here and nothing too big to work on, individual technique, but overall the kids looked great.”

Both the men and women fencers will next compete at the NYU Duels Friday.