Kat Holmes celebrates at the Pan American Games Lima 2019 on Aug. 8, 2019 in Lima, Peru.
The U.S. women’s epee fencing team has its sights set on an Olympic medal in 2020, and the bronze medal that Kat Holmes, Courtney Hurley, Kelley Hurley and Anna van Brummen won on Sunday earned the team valuable points toward getting there.
The FIE world cup opener for the discipline in Tallinn, Estonia, served as the first Olympic qualifying event of the new season. Teams will score points between now and April, with the top four at the end of the qualification period automatically earning spots in Tokyo.
Although no U.S. women reached the quarterfinals in Saturday’s individual competition in Tallinn, the U.S. team entered the weekend ranked fourth both in the world and the Olympic rankings.
Also in the top four was China, who the U.S. faced for the bronze medal after losing to top seed Russia in the semifinal earlier on Sunday. The U.S. led from the start and earned the victory by a score of 43-35.
Van Brummen started out for the U.S. and Holmes, who competed at the Olympics in 2016 and helped the team to a fifth-place finish, took over with a 5-4 lead. Patient and collected, Holmes did her part to increase the lead to four points, and three-time Olympian Kelley Hurley came in and upped the lead to six points, putting China in a significant hole.
Her sister, two-time Olympian Courtney Hurley, substituted in and scored six points to put the U.S. up 20-14 as Kelley Hurley came back in.
China recorded its only winning round of the day to regain two points and close the lead to 21-17. Then Holmes stepped back onto the piste and scored five points, and Kelley Hurley, Courtney Hurley and Holmes closed things out. The U.S. scored 22 points in the last four rounds while holding China to 18.