van Loon earned her first junior North American Cup title (photo courtesy Gil Talbot).
VIRIGINA BEACH, Va. – USA Fencing's January North American Cup featured 11 members of the Harvard fencing teams compete on the strip Jan. 17-21. Over 1,000 athletes from across the United States and Canada competed in the final North American Cup of the season which serves as a key qualifier for both the 2014 Senior and Junior World Championships.
Epeeist Nina van Loon took home the Junior women's epee gold medal to punch her ticket to compete at the Junior Worlds. The junior overcame a field of 120 fencers to claim her first junior North American Cup title. She qualified for the ranking rounds by notching six victories and a plus-19 indicator in her qualifying pool. After receiving a bye in the table of 128, the 4th-seeded epeeist downed three straight opponents to reach the quarterfinals where she met Jennifer Horowitz in a hard fought contest, but came out victories, 15-13. van Loon bested Audrey Yun, 15-10, in the semifinals and took down her 2013 Junior Pan Am Team member Azaline Dunal-Smith, 15-9, for gold. The Boulder, Colo., local also fenced in the Division I women's epee where she finished 19th.
Adrienne Jarocki also found herself on the podium with a silver medal finish in the Division I women's sabre. The freshman went unbeaten in pools to rank first into the elimination table where she received a bye in the opening bout. She met Dadgamar Wozniak in the semifinals. Jarocki downed the London Olympian, to reach her second NAC Division I title bout, but was upset by the seventh seed, Monica Aksamit, 15-9, to finish second. The Middle Village, N.Y., native also posted a top-ten finish in the Junior women's sabre where she claimed ninth.
All three of the Crimson's women foil fencers competed at the event. Freshman Liana Yamin's 24th-place finish in the Junior women's foil highlighted Harvard's performances while classmate Hali Nelson took 45th overall. Nelson and Yamin also fenced in the Division women's foil where they were joined on the strip by senior Alexandra Kiefer.
Alexander Eldeib paced the Crimson's men performances with two top-ten showings. The freshman finished fifth in the Division I men's epee and ninth in the Junior men's epee.
In the Junior men's foil, freshman Stephen Mageras tied for 11th. Three Harvard men's fencers took the strip in the Division I men's foil. Senior Lucas Lin and sophomore Michael Woo finished 16th and 21st, respectively, while Mageras' 38th-place finish rounded out the trio.
Sophomore Duncan O'Brien represented the men's sabre fencers with a 77th-place showing in the Division I men's sabre. Senior Michael Raynis rounded out the Harvard competitors as the senior took the strip in the Division I men's epee.
Harvard returns to the strip this weekend when both the men and women travel to Queens, N.Y., for the St. John's Invitational Sunday, Jan. 26.