The U.S. women’s epee team knew going into Wednesday’s match against Korea that, win or lose, the squad was going to win the country’s first world championship medal in team history.
That in and of itself was big enough.
With an 18-17 victory over South Korea in the final, however, the women’s team — consisting of Kelley Hurley, Courtney Hurley, Kat Holmes and Amanda Sirico — claimed the team’s first-ever world championship title. This is Team USA’s first gold medal of the world championships and fourth medal overall, with one day left to go in Wuxi, China.
"We really felt coming into this event that we really could do it, and then to just do it is kind of another thing," Holmes said in a video posted to the FIE's Facebook page. "We were really positive all day, we stayed with it, whether we were up, whether we were down. It's just amazing."
The seventh-seeded Americans defeated Russia in the semifinals, in addition to notching victories over defending champion Estonia, Hong Kong and Democratic Republic of Congo en route to the title bout.
It’s been a banner year for the team, which won its first world cup gold in Dubai in May and also took home a bronze medal in February in Barcelona.
Courtney Hurley already made history once this week before Wednesday's gold, becoming the first U.S. woman to medal in epee when she won the individual bronze medal on Sunday. Both Hurley sisters were members of the team that won the bronze medal at the Olympic Games London 2012. Holmes competed with both Hurleys at the Olympic Games Rio 2016, and Sirico made her senior world team debut at these championships.
All four team members are former college student-athletes, with the Hurley sisters and Sirico competing at Notre Dame, and Holmes representing Princeton.
The world championships wrap up on Thursday with competition in men’s team foil and women’s team saber. Team USA is seeded No. 1 in foil and No. 5 in saber.