SJU fencer finishes sixth in Olympics

LONDON — In his first-ever Olympic event, Daryl Homer finished sixth, tying St. John’s University alumnus Keeth Smart’s result in 2008.

The sixth-place finish by both St. John’s fencers is the highest by an American men’s saber fencer since Peter Westbrook earned the bronze medal in the 1984 Games.

Homer, the youngest on the men’s saber squad at 22 years old, finished the highest of Team USA’s men’s saber team. Tim Morehouse, Homer’s teammate, placed eighth. This marks the first time two individual American saber fencers qualified for the quarterfinals since the 1948 Olympic Games in London.

Homer, who entered the day confident he would show a good result, was seeded 18th and received a first-round bye. His first bout of the event was against Romania’s Tiberiu Dolniceanu, who has a history with Homer. Dolniceanu defeated Homer in the table of 64 at the 2011 World Fencing Championships in Catania, Italy, last October.

In the round of 32, Homer and Dolniceanu matched each other touch-for-touch until the first break, which Homer entered with an 8-7 lead. Homer maintained the lead for the remainder of the match and defeated the Romanian 15-11.

Homer’s next test came when he faced the world’s No. 2 saber fencer, Russia’s Alexey Yakimenko. Homer defeated the Russian after a thrilling tie-break onslaught, advancing to face Romania’s Rares Dumitrescu in the quarterfinals.

The eighth-ranked Dumitrescu out-matched Homer in the latter half of the match, defeating the 2011 Pan American gold medalist 15-13.

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