Columbia fencing standout Nzingha Prescod made history last weekend at the Marseille Foil Grand Prix in France by becoming the first U.S. women’s foil fencer ever to earn a Grand Prix title.
Prescod, a 2012 London Olympian and two-time first-team All-Ivy League selection, has now placed in the top eight twice on the World Cup circuit, topped by her gold medal finish in France.
Seeded 10th in the tournament, Prescod was exempt from the pools and preliminary tables and began the competition with a 15-7 victory over the2013 Junior World Champion, Camilla Mancini (Italy).
Prescod continued her success in the pool of 32 with a 15-11 victory over Russia’s Viktoria Kozyreva.
She then edged 2011 Junior World medalist Ysaora Thibus of France by a 15-14 score in the table of 16, hence advancing to the quarterfinals round the second time this season after placing fifth at the Tauberbischofsheim World Cup back in February.
In the quarterfinals, Prescod dueled Russia’s Inna Deriglazova, a two-time Junior World Champion who ranks second in the world after winning gold at four of the eighth international events this season.
Prescod stepped up to the challenge by pulling off a 15-12, raising her overall record against Deriglazova to an unbeaten 3-0 mark over the last three World Cup seasons.
With the win, Prescod was guaranteed a spot in the semifinals along with a podium finish, marking the first for a U.S. women’s foil fencer since Iris Zimmermann won bronze in New York in 2004.
Prescod battled to the wire against 2005 Senior World Team Champion Corinne Maitrejean of France and came out on top, 15-14.
Prescod then took the finals strip in the gold medal battle against Carolin Golubytskyi of Germany. Holding a 14-8 lead in the third period, Golubytskyi scored four straight touches to make it a tight match. Prescod stuck it out and proved her dominance to bring home the gold medal win, 15-12.
Columbia’s Margaret Lu, a four-time Junior World medalist, also fenced in the table of 64. Lu, who went undefeated in the pools on Friday to advance as the 19th seed in the tournament, feel in table of 64 bout to Tatiana Myasnikova of Russia by a 15-8 score to finish 34th overall.
Marseille Foil Grand Prix
1. Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
2. Carolin Golubytskyi (GER)
3. Carolina Erba (ITA)
3. Corinne Maitrejean (FRA)
5. Inna Deriglazova (RUS)
6. Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.)
7. Diana Yakoleva (RUS)
8. Benedetta Durando (ITA)
34. Margaret Lu (Greenwich, Conn.)