Three Columbia College women made history at the Fédération Internationale d'Escrime World Championships in China, held July 26. Left to right, Nicole Ross CC’13, Nzingha Prescod CC’15 and Margaret Lu CC’17 were part of the four-person team, which also included Lee Kiefer (far right), that became the first American foil team to win a senior world championship, beating number 1-ranked Italy 45–35 and outdoing their previous silver-medal performance at last year’s event in Germany.
All collegiate student-athletes, the three have been fencing together for several years. Each has won various awards and honors. However, they credit the bond they share as a team as the reason they won. “You can’t fake that feeling when you want your teammate to win so badly … And that’s why we won, because we care so much about each other. It’s so deep. It’s to our core,” said Ross in an interview with USA Fencing. An art history major and a 2012 Olympian, Ross has been on the National Team for eight years. More recently, she was a fencing coach at Cornell.
Regarding their recent win, Lu shared Ross’ sentiments also in the interview with USA Fencing: “I feel really proud and honored to be a part of this team and see these ladies fence fight so hard back-to-back all day long. I’m so proud of how amazing they are.” A psychology major, Lu was a member of Columbia Fencing’s NCAA Championship team in 2015. She was presented the Connie S. Maniatty Award and the William V. Campbell Performer of the Year award, and holds the best women’s foil record at the 2017 NCAA Championships.
Prescod, a political science major, also has an impressive record. The two-time Olympian (2012 and 2016) was the fencing team captain at Columbia. She won gold at the Marseille Foil Grand Prix in 2013; she is the first U.S. female foil fencer to do so. At one point, Prescod ranked number 1 in the nation and number 8 in the world. In 2014, she was selected as one of Glamour’s Top 10 College Women, which honors female students for their campus leadership and academic achievement, among other things. “I’m really glad that I can do this so younger black kids see that basketball and football aren’t the only sports that they can do and be successful in. Fencing can take you so many places and give you so many opportunities and make you such a better person,” Prescod said in a Winter 2013-14 profile in Columbia College Today. “I really hope younger kids can see that through me.”