Taking a short break from team competitions, freshman Tasha Hall and classmates Katherine Thompson and Sallie Dietrich headed to Denver, Colo. to compete individually in the Junior Olympic National Championships over this past weekend. Hall, who placed within the top-16 at nationals last year and third at the Montreal Junior World Cup, finished ninth out of 158 competitors in the Junior Division. Thompson, who placed 41st at last year’s Junior Olympics, placed 50th and Dietrich, who won the Heartland Circuit last year, finished in 72nd place.
“Tasha, Katherine, and Sallie all did very well,” said head coach Iryna Dolgikh. “Tasha especially has made really great progress. She’s placed in the 60s and 20s before, but finishing ninth is an excellent result. She fenced very well, correct and smart. I’m very proud of the results for all the girls.”
[img_assist|nid=21503|title=Blast, foiled again.|desc=The fencing team fights its way to first place in the Cornell Invitational on Sept. 30. This past weekend, three Red fencers competed in the Junior Olympic National Championships.|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=65]
At the individual’s junior tournament, the players faced competitors from all over the country, all of whom were under the age of twenty. Hall, after progressing six rounds and defeating six opponents finally lost, 15-14, by one touch in her bout against Ohio State’s Miriam Baranov. Baranov continued on to place just ahead of Hall in eighth. In a similarly close bout, Thompson lost 15-13 to a finalist who went on to tie for third place.
Despite the loss, Hall is extremely pleased with the results for herself and her two teammates.
“I thought it was a great tournament for us,” Hall said. “Both of my teammates did very well. Katherine went up against one of the top fencers and even though she lost, she had an awesome comeback. And I lost by one touch in my final bout, but I’m very happy with the way things turned out. I’m very happy with how all three of us did.”
Hall didn’t stop with praise for just her teammates, as she was also extremely thankful for Dolgikh’s efforts.
“Our coach did an amazing job of coaching us at the tournament,” Hall said. “Things turned out really well and we’re all just really pleased.”
Although the tournament was for individuals and had no bearing upon the Red’s record, Hall recognizes the importance of performing at the event.
“This tournament is completely separate from our competitions for Cornell,” Hall said. “It’s not just college and university students that compete, but kids from high schools and kids that were home schooled as well. This competition is extremely important because it lets us see how we are, compared to the rest of the nation. It’s a good tournament for our reputation even if it’s only for individuals to compete. Good results at the Junior Olympics enhances the Cornell fencing team’s reputation.”