Last weekend, we competed in our first fencing world cup of the 2017-18 season in Tallinn, Estonia. While we both had a pretty rough day in the office in the individual event, the team event boosted our spirits! Instead of writing about it, we thought we would tell you about it this time! Please check out our video blog (vlog) post below!
PART 4 of 4
In the Elite 8, Kelley drew Tatijana Stewart, who is an up and coming Junior fencer. Tatijana knocked off the #1 seed in the DE Table, Isis Washington (curse of the first!) earlier. Kelley out-experienced the Junior fencer and won 15-8. Courtney was also matched against a Junior fencer, Kasia Nixon (the older sister of Karolina Nixon, who lost to Kat Holmes in the round of 32). Courtney prevailed 15-7. On to the Final 4!
For those of you who follow tennis, you all know about Serena and Venus Williams. Over the years, you have probably seen these sisters play each other on some of the biggest stages in the world. Although, we don’t exactly have the fame of the Williams sisters (yet), the same predicament still happens to us from time to time. The Hurleygurrls were each other’s opponent in the Final 4. One of us was not going to be in the gold medal bout. On this particular day, Kelley outscored her younger sister and moved on the gold medal bout; Courtney had to be satisfied with third place (after all, someone had to provide the live Instagram story feed!). Not bad for someone who started the day off not sure if she was going to be able to compete at all!
Kelley met fellow Notre Dame Irish fencer, Amanda Sirico, in the final match of the day. Kelley has had trouble with Amanda in the past. She has a feisty and aggressive game! On this particular day, however, Amanda was no match for the left-handed “surgeon” (a name that many people gave Kelley in the past because of her precision in her “operating room,” the fencing strip). Kelley defeated Amanda 15-10 and won her 3rd-in-a-row North American Cup title.
First and third places for the season opener for the Hurleygurrls! We’re off to a super start!
We caught a red-eye flight back to Houston about 4 hours after the competition ended and arrived in H-town at about 2am on Tuesday morning. We had enough time to unpack, wash our uniforms, and re-pack for our first international competition of the season to Tallinn, Estonia on Wednesday afternoon!
If you want to watch the Gold Medal bout, you can view it on USA Fencing’s YouTube Channel (below). Kelley is on the left side (red light). It is about 10 minutes long.
— The End —
PART 3 of 4
The DE round progressed smoothly as the Hurleygurrls defeated each of their opponents without much difficulty. Their early rounds included scores of 15-5, 15-4, and 15-10. In the Sweet 16, Kelley was matched with a USA Olympian teammate, Kat Holmes, who is a formidable opponent! They both lost a bout in the pool and as a result, were matched up much earlier than usual. Unfortunately, the loser of this bout was not going to make the Elite 8. The score see-sawed back and forth until Kelley finally took control in the last few minutes. The final score was 15-13 in favor of Kelley.
While Kelley was busy fighting off Kat, Courtney was paired with an opponent that she did not know well, Pauline Hamilton. Courtney prevailed 10-6 after two non-combativity calls in each of the first 2 periods. Courtney went into the third period down 4-2 and as the period started, she turned up the heat. Fortunately, her ankle held and she was able to put together some great attacks to win the bout. The Hurleygurrls were now on to the Elite 8 together!
Eating during a competition has always been a weak spot for us. It’s hard to eat a big breakfast because, first of all, you have to get up early enough to order and eat a big breakfast! Secondly, it just isn’t fun competing with a full stomach. Although eating during a competition is a challenge all by itself, the challenge has grown significantly since we both became vegetarians. The days we could buy a turkey sandwich at the venue are over! This time, we nibbled on blueberry muffins, yogurt smoothies, bananas, and a few Oreo cookies (these are very important!). Before the Elite 8, we popped a Shaklee Performance Energy Chew to top off the tank.
— Stay Tuned! Part 4 will be posted tomorrow! —
PART 2 of 4
The 2017-18 fencing season started with a bang on October 16! Off we flew on a whirlwind trip to Los Angeles! We were only there for a day-and-a-half! The first North American Cup event took place in Anaheim, California. We could see Disneyland from our hotel room!
One of the good things about flying to the west coast from Texas is that you gain 2 hours! Although, it doesn’t sound like much, it is a great advantage to those of us who have a little trouble getting up and moving in the morning! Registration closed at 8am, which is normally an awful time of day! But in Los Angeles, it was really 10am to us Texans! Not so bad!
The new format for the NACs this year includes a 2-day format. The top 62 ranked fencers receive a bye to the second day while everyone else fences on the first day. At this event, there were a total of 164 competitors. This means that 102 athletes competed on day one in a format consisting of pools and direct elimination bouts that weeded them down to 126 (including the top 62). Those eliminated on day one, fenced a consolation tournament on day 2. The top 126 competed in the main event on day 2.
The day started off with 18 pools of 7 athletes. As an athlete, that means you have to fence 6, 5-touch matches or bouts. Once the pools are over, athletes are ranked from best (#1) to worst (#126) based on our win-loss records. Only 80% or so are promoted to the next round. The 15-touch direct elimination (DE) round started with 112 athletes. As with tennis (and many other sports), if you lose a DE match, you are eliminated from the competition.
Courtney was still hurting from her sprained ankle. It was taped and well wrapped by the USA Fencing trainers but we were still uncertain if she would be able to fence all day. She hasn’t fenced since she was injured almost 2 weeks before. We kept our fingers crossed — hoping, at a minimum, that she wouldn’t make the injury worse!
The pools finished with Courtney winning all (6-0) and Kelley losing one (5-1). We were ranked #5 and #9, respectively. The start of the season was underway and the off-season rust was beginning to fade! Courtney’s ankle was holding up and Kelley was working through a few kinks.
— Stay Tuned! Part 3 will be posted tomorrow. —