CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Columbia fencing team kicked off the 2013-14 season with a strong showing at the first North American Cup of the year, held November 8-11. Nzingha Prescod and Geoffrey Loss led the Lions with gold medal performances in their respective weapons, while a total of 21 current Columbia team members and eight alumni placed in the top 32.
A top-32 finish in a North American Cup event qualifies a fencer for the United States National Division I Championships, which will be held in 2014.
"It was great to see our team young team achieve such amazing results at such a strong competition as the North American Cup," said Columbia head coach Michael Aufrichtig. "It gets me excited for our home opener on November 22nd."
In a rematch of the gold medal final from the Division I National Championships last April, Prescod battled it out with former Columbia and 2012 Olympic teammate, Nicole Ross (‘13CC).
Prescod, who enters the season ranked No. 1 in the nation and No. 8 in the world for women’s foil, earned her third gold medal of the year with a 15-11 victory over Ross. She also won both Grand Prix and National Championship titles in 2013 and finished third in the Ivy League championships.
Prescod went 6-0 in the pools and entered the table of 128 in a three-way tie for the first seed with teammates Margaret Lu and Jackie Dubrovich, who also fenced well, finishing fifth and ninth, respectively.
Loss set a new career-best as fenced his way to gold in the junior sabre competition. He earned the final victory by a 15-9 score over John Hallsten of Notre Dame. Last season, Loss nearly medaled at the Croatia Junior Worlds with an impressive fourth-place finish as the U.S. Men’s saber team advanced to the medal rounds for the first time since 2010.
In Division I men’s sabre, former Columbia standout Jeff Spear ‘10CC earned bronze, while his younger sibling, junior Will Spear, finished sixth. On the women’s sabre side, current Director of Fencing Operations, Daria Schneider ‘10CC, finished in sixth place.
Other impressive performances by the Lions included a bronze medal by sophomore Adam Mathieu and fifth-place finish by first-year Drew Johnston (junior men’s foil), and a bronze medal by first-year Jessie Laffey (junior women’s foil). A complete list of top-32 Columbia performances can be found below.
COLUMBIA IN TOP 32
Division I Results
Division I Women’s Foil (127 Fencers)
1st – Nzingha Prescod
2nd – Nicole Ross (‘13CC)
5th – Margaret Lu
8th – Anne Marsh-Senic (‘94CC)
9th – Jackie Dubrovich
15th – Sara Taffel
24th – Jessie Laffey
Division I Women’s Epee (170 Fencers)
30th – Mason Speta
Division I Women’s Sabre (123 Fencers)
6th – Daria Schneider (‘10CC)
24th – Loweye Diedro (‘13CC)
Division I Men’s Foil (192 Fencers)
18th – Adam Mathieu
Division I Men’s Sabre (178 Fencers)
3rd – Jeffrey Spear (‘10CC)
6th – Will Spear
8th – Michael Costin
14th – Geoffrey Loss
28th – Rienzi Gokea
Division I Men’s Epee (310 Fencers)
17th – Lorenzo Casertano (‘09CC)
25th – Jon Normile (‘86CC)
29th –- Dwight Smith (‘09CC)
Junior Men’s Foil (174 Fencers)
3rd – Adam Mathieu
5th – Drew Johnston
Junior Men’s Epee (204 Fencers)
8th – Martin Ridge
18th – Justin Wan
Junior Men’s Sabre (143 Fencers)
1st – Geoffrey Loss
17th – Chris Ahn
29th – Michael Costin
Junior Women’s Foil (132 Fencers)
3rd – Jessie Laffey
18th – Sara Taffel
Junior Women’s Epee (145 Fencers)
23rd – Mason Speta