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Kiefer brings home silver

| Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The list of things Lee Kiefer has not accomplished in her time at Notre Dame got one item smaller over the weekend. The 2012 Olympian brought home her first career Senior World Cup medal after earning silver at the foil in St. Maur, France, this weekend.

Kiefer, a junior who won the 2013 NCAA foil championship, had previously won silver medals in both the cadet and junior divisions of the World Cup in 2011, as well as claiming gold in the North American Cup in 2012. She was also the first athlete ever to earn medal finishes at the Senior, Junior and Cadet World Championships back in the 2011 calendar year.

The Versailles, Kentucky, native cruised into the quarterfinals, where Elisa Di Francisca, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist from Italy, awaited her. The Irish junior was not fazed, though, as she handily pulled off the upset, 15-6. Kiefer met 2013 Senior World medalist Inna Deriglazova of Russia in the semifinals, coming back from a 13-10 deficit to record the winning touch in a 15-14 victory. Italian Arianna Errigo, the two-time defending Senior World champion, finally felled Kiefer in the championship match, 15-8.

Kiefer was joined in France by junior classmate Madison Zeiss, who advanced into the table of 32 with a 15-12 victory over Mina Kim of South Korea before falling to Hiromi Kusano of Japan, 15-6. Team USA wound up finishing sixth in the event.

Elsewhere around the globe, Irish athletes were able to find success. In the Senior Men’s Foil World Cup event in Tokyo, Irish graduate student and volunteer assistant coach Garek Meinhardt finished ninth while Team USA finished fourth. Freshman Amanda Siroco earned a silver medal in the Junior Women’s Epee World Cup in Helsinski as well.

A plethora of Notre Dame fencers also saw action in Louisville, Kentucky, at the North American Cup junior tournament. The meet was highlighted by freshman Francesca Russo’s victory in the women’s sabre division, while classmate Madeline Gallagher finished 29th. Russo defeated the second-seeded Malia Hee, 15-10, in the semifinals before toppling the first-overall seed Sarah Merza, 15-13, in the championship bout. The victory was Russo’s second in as many North American Cup tournaments.

The Irish managed strong finishes in other events as well. Freshman Zoe Loh placed 29th in the women’s foil division, while the men’s side saw six finishers inside the top 20. Freshman Jonathan Fitzgerald finished in a tie for third in men’s sabre to lead a trio of Notre Dame sabres. Fitzgerald earned the 18th seed out of pool play and fell to fourth-ranked Benjamin Natanzon, 15-7, in the semifinals. Also joining Fitzgerald was freshman Jonah Shainberg, who finished in 10th place.

Freshman Nicholas Hanahan, like Fitzgerald, earned a tie for the bronze medal in men’s epee. The Indianapolis native was the 69th seed coming out of pool play and pulled off a string of upsets before finally falling to the first-overall seed and eventual champion Marc-Antoine Blais-Belanger in a close, 12-11, decision. Junior John Poremski joined Hanahan in the top 15, finishing in 12th place. Sophomore Hazem Khazbak and freshman Spicer Emge took 12th and 20th places, respectively, in the men’s foil division.

The Notre Dame women will be back in action Friday when they host an exhibition match against Northwestern at 7:30 p.m. in the Castellan Family Fencing Center. The whole squad will then travel to the Ohio State Elite Cup in Columbus, Ohio, and compete all day Sunday.

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About Zach Klonsinski

A History graduate, Zach spent all four of his years on campus as a resident of Knott Hall. Hailing from Belgrade, Montana, he covered a wide variety of sports in his time at Notre Dame, including Football, Hockey, Men's Basketball, Men's Soccer, Women's Tennis, Fencing, Rowing, Women's Lacrosse and other events around campus. You can contact him in his post-graduation travels and job search at [email protected]

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