VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- Two harbingers of fencing's future, first-years Margaret Lu and Geoffrey Loss, paced five other teammates last weekend in the North American Cup at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.
Lu earned a gold medal in Junior Women's Foil, finishing first in a field of 125 fencers from all points of the nation. Loss earned a bronze in Junior Men's Sabre, beating all but two of 136 competitors. Two other Lion first-years, Harry Bergman and Adam Mathieu, were finalists in Junior Men's Foil, finishing seventh and eighth in a field of 161 fencers.
Four additional Columbia fencers reached the Round of 32 in the Junior Division, which includes those who have not reached age 21. Sophomores Michael Josephs and Will Spear were ninth and 17th in Junior Men's Sabre; first-year Jackie Dubrovich was 12th in Junior Women's Foil; and first-year Justin Wan was 24th in Junior Men's Epee.
"I'm not surprised by our performance at the North American Cup," head coach Michael Aufrichtig said. "I expected them to do a great job, and they did. These Cups don't count toward NCAA competition, but they are great warmups for the college season."
The coach was thrilled by his two first-year medalists. "Margaret Lu was down after finishing ninth in the Division I competition," he noted, "and was able to bounce back and take gold in the Juniors. Geoffrey Loss also fenced well in taking a bronze medal."
Three current fencers were Top 8 finalists in Division 1 competition.
Senior Loweye Diedro finished fifth in Women's Sabre, with her twin sister Essane close behind in seventh. Sophomore Nzingha Prescod was sixth in Women's Foil.
"I'm really excited about Essane and Loweye," the coach said. "It's great to see our seniors do well, reaching the Top 8 in their first competition."
Several present Lions made the Round of 32 -- Geoffrey Loss (16th) and Michael Josephs (25) in Men's Sabre; Margaret Lu (9) and Jackie Dubrovich (17) in Women's Foil; Harry Bergman (27) in Men's Foil; junior Alen Hadzic in Men's Epee (18); and two Women's Epeeists, senior Lydia Kopecky (16) and sophomore Diana Tsinis (21).
A number of former Columbia fencers were at the Cup.
Daria Schneider '10CC captured top honors. Columbia Fencing's assistant coach earned a gold medal by finishing first among 110 fencers in Women's Sabre.
Emma Baratta '06CC was ninth in the weapon, and recent graduate Sammy Roberts '12SEAS was 28th.
Nicole Ross '12CC earned bronze in Women's Foil, third of 114 foilists, while Dwight Smith '10CC was 15th in Men's Foil. And Jeff Spear '09CC placed fifth among 148 in Men's Sabre. Spear, Ross and Schneider are all former NCAA champions.
Columbia will open the dual-meet portion of its schedule Friday November 30 as host to a new meet. The Lions will compete against Tufts, Stevens Tech, Air Force and New Jersey Institute of Technology, beginning at 4 p.m.
North American Cup
Virginia Beach Convention Center
Virginia Beach, Va.
November 9-12, 2012
(fencers reaching Round of 32, or better)
JUNIOR DIVISION (under age 21)
Junior Men's Sabre (136 fencers)
3. Geoffrey Loss, Fr.
9. Michael Josephs, So.
17. Will Spear, So.
Junior Women's Sabre
no one reached Round of 32
Junior Men's Foil (161 fencers)
7. Harry Bergman, Fr.
8. Adam Mathieu, Fr.
Junior Women's Foil (125 fencers)
1. Margaret Lu, Fr.
12. Jackie Dubrovich, Fr.
Junior Men's Epee (177 fencers)
24. Justin Wan, Fr.
Junior Women's Epee
no one reached Round of 32
Men's Sabre (148 fencers)
5. Jeff Spear '09
16. Geoffrey Loss, Fr.
25. Michael Josephs, So.
Women's Sabre (110 fencers)
1. Daria Schneider '10
5. Loweye Diedro, Sr.
7. Essane Diedro, Sr.
9. Emma Baratta '06
28. Sammy Roberts '12
Men's Foil (178 fencers)
15. Dwight Smith '10
27. Harry Bergman, Fr.
Women's Foil (114 fencers)
3. Nicole Ross '12
6. Nzingha Prescod, So.
9. Margaret Lu, Fr.
17. Jackie Dubrovich, Fr.
Men's Epee (264 fencers)
18. Alen Hadzic, Jr.
Women's Epee (137 fencers)
16. Lydia Kopecky, Sr.
21. Diana Tsinis, So.
GOLD: Margaret Lu (Fr.), Daria Schneider '10
BRONZE: Geoffrey Loss (Fr.), Nicole Ross '12
FINALISTS (Round of 8):
Harry Bergman, Essane Diedro, Loweye Diedro, Geoffrey Loss, Margaret Lu, Adam Mathieu, Nzingha Prescod - current students
Nicole Ross, Daria Schneider, Jeff Spear - alumni