The 2016 USA Fencing National Championships and July Challenge took place this year in Dallas at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center from June 29 – July 9 and included more than 4,000 fencers from the United States. Local fencer, Lana Prieur, reached the podium in Division II and also competed in Division 1A and Cadet.
The United States Fencing Association (USFA) awards medals to the top eight finishers in men’s and women’s events for all three weapons – foil, épée and sabre – across 13 events ranging from eight-years-old in Y10 to veterans in the Vet 70 division for fencers over 70-years-old. The meet included the final tournament for U.S. Division I fencers before the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Prieur medaled in Division II with an eighth place finish out of 148 fencers. Her arrival at the podium was the culmination of an entire year of tournaments where the best local fencers fought for a spot in the Dallas Nationals. Prieur, a 15-year-old Long Valley resident, faced a grueling seven-hour day. She placed 60 after the five-point pool rounds but went on to defeat four other fencers in 15-point direct elimination bouts.
“I couldn’t believe that I had to face three lefties; every touch was a special effort,” Prieur, a right handed fencer explained about her left-handed opponents. “The best part was to reach the top where I could ask for a video-replay and pick up touches that the referee wanted to award my opponent,” she continued. Prieur was finally eliminated by the first-place finisher.
Prieur attends West Morris Central High School in Long Valley where she will be a junior. She supports Special Olympics, raising more than $1,000 last summer. She has since initiated a school-wide Community Service Survey to find out what her classmates can do for the community. Prieur has been fencing foil since the age 11 and studies fencing at Gutkovskiy Fencing Academy.