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NCAA Fencing Champ Purcell Finishes Eighth In World Cup

Purcell Upsets Seventh World Ranked Hungary’s Bartok 15-14

By Ming-Tai Huh

After winning four championship titles including the NCAA fencing Championships, engineer Caroline Purcell ’02 didn’t take any time off to relax. Instead she competed in the World Cup at Peabody, MA. Purcell was placed in a pool of over 80 of the best fencers around the world. Just coming off her hot streak, Purcell made it to the finals to place eighth in the world-level competition.

Last Friday, the national champion took the day off from school to compete in the preliminary round. She fenced well enough to make the top-48 cut off, which put her into a direct elimination bracket all the way to the finals. “I didn’t put any stress on myself,” she said. Purcell placed 26th in the preliminary round.

Saturday, Purcell and other preliminary qualifiers were added to the top-16 ranked women saberists. Along the path to the finals, the seventh world seed Bartok from Hungary faced MIT’s Purcell. They went touch for touch in the fifteen point match until Purcell landed the winning point for the score 15-14. “Competition was very steep,” Purcell said. After defeating the seventh seed Purcell moved to the final eight bracket. Unfortunately Purcell’s run stopped in the first finals match. She lost to fellow American Sada Jacobson, who she may rematch in next week’s US Open in Cleveland, Ohio. “I was a little disappointed ... I was ahead of Jacobson early.” she said.

Fencers from Poland, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Ukraine, and United States filled the world competition circuit. Engineer Purcell has improved her ranking worldwide and made a name for herself throughout the fencing world. U.S. national men’s saber team member Herby Raynaud said, “None of these other girls fence like [Purcell], she’s amazing to watch.”