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Fencing: Olympian leads squad

Observer Staff Report | Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Individual glory was on the line this weekend as numerous Irish fencers participated in the North American Cup tournament in Virginia Beach, Va.

Freshman foilist and Olympian Lee Kiefer provided one of the bright spots for the Irish in the event as she notched a second-place finish in the women’s foil competition. Eleanor Harvey of the Canadian Fencing Academy bested her in the championship bout.

The Irish also received strong performances from sophomore foilist Madison Zeiss, who finished with a third-place finish in the women’s foil, and sophomore epeeist Nicole Ameli, who recorded a third-place tie in the women’s epee.

Some winners of the competitions included former Irish fencer Kelley Hurley taking home the gold in women’s epee. Former Columbia fencer Daria Schneider won the women’s saber.

The competition had no affiliation with the NCAA, but it was an opportunity for individuals to advance their national ranking. These rankings help determine future national teams for the Olympics and other international competitions. With a total of 1,924 fencers competing across 18 divisions, the four-day tournament is one of the biggest fencing competitions of the year.

The Irish wrapped up the competition Monday with senior foilist Gerek Meinhardt, who was competing in the men’s Division I foil competition and he saved the best for last.

After defeating Harvard freshman Jerry Chang in the semifinals, Meinhardt went on to beat former Penn State fencer and current Olympian Miles Chamley-Watson in a hotly contested final bout 15-14 and the earn the only gold for the Irish this weekend.

Other results from the men’s competition included St. John’s senior and current Olympian Daryl Homer winning the men’s saber and Connor Shepard of the Golf Blade Fencing Center claimed the men’s epee.