Fencing Collects Six Medals at 2014 USA Fencing National Championships
Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics


COLUMBUS, Ohio – A total of 17 Columbia fencers took the strip at the 2014 USA Fencing National Championships at the Greater Columbus Convention Center last week. The Lions collected six medals over the course of the 12-day championships, which is the largest fencing tournament in the world with more than 4,000 athletes and 400 teams competing.

James Sands highlighted Columbia’s performances as the foil fencer battled his way to the top of the Junior men’s foil podium. The first-year overcame a field of 364 fencers to take home gold.  He also fenced in the Division I men’s foil where he placed 76th.

Sands was joined in the foil by juniors Harry Bergman and Adam Mathieu, as well as sophomore Drew Johnston. Mathieu put on an impressive show in the Division I pool where he finished atop the podium with a bronze medal. Also in Division I action, Bergman claimed 13th and Johnston turned in a 26th-place performance. Johnston also competed in the junior’s tournament where he finished 14th.

Three fencers dueled in the Division I men’s sabre. Junior Geoffrey Loss placed sixth while sophomore Michael Costin and classmate Rienzi Gokea took 15th and 16th, respectively.

Gabe Canaux rounded out the Lions men’s fencers. Canaux was the third Columbia fencer to medal with a third-place showing in the Junior men’s epee division. The first-year also took the strip in the Division I tables where he placed 79th.

Columbia was represented in each weapon on the women’s side. Five Lions competed in the foil with each going unbeaten in pool action to earn a bye into the direct elimination tables of the Division I women’s foil event. Nicole Ross ’13 paced the women’s performances with a silver-medal finish.  Junior Margaret Lu (6th), senior Nzingha Prescod (7th) and Anne Marsh-Senic ’93 (10th) joined Ross in the top-ten, while sophomore Jessie Laffey placed 20th.  Laffey also fenced in the Junior women’s foil where she took seventh.

Columbia’s fourth medal of the event came at the sword of Mason Speta. After entering the elimination tables ranked 39th, the sophomore epeeist reached the Division I women’s epee title bout, where she fell to fourth-seeded Courtney Hurley, 15-5, to finish with silver. The Chicago, Ill., native also competed in the Junior women’s epee along with Amy Tong. Speta placed 13th, while Tong took 21st.

Lena Johnson represented the women’s sabre fencers and collected the Lions sixth medal of the championships with a bronze medal showing in the Division I tournament. The first-year also posted a top-ten performance in the Junior’s division where she took seventh. Danya Hu also competed in the sabre. Hu finished 22nd in the Division I-A women’s sabre.  

Members of the Lions return to the strip this week at the 2014 Korea-USA Elite Fencing Invitational in Songdo, Korea.

2014 USA Fencing National Championships Highlights Top 32

Junior Men's Foil 

1st - James Sands
14th - Drew Johnston

Junior Women's Foil
7th - Jessie Laffey

Junior Men's Epee
3rd - Gabe Canaux

Junior Women's Epee
13th - Mason Speta
21st - Amy Tong 

Junior Women's Sabre
7th - Lena Johnson

Division I Women's Epee
2nd - Mason Speta 

Division I Men's Foil
3rd - Adam Mathieu
13th - Harry Bergman
26th - Drew Johnson 

Division I Women's Foil
2nd - Nicole Ross CC '13

6th - Margaret Lu
7th - Nzingha Precod
10th - Anne Marsh-Senic CC '93
20th - Jessie Laffey

Division I Women's Sabre 
3rd - Lena Johnson

Division I Men's Sabre
6th - Geoffrey Loss

15th - Michael Costin
16th - Rienzi Gokea

Division I A Women's Sabre
22nd - Danya Hu 

Division I A Women's Epee 
13th - Amy Tong