Amherst Magazine

Move Over, Ralph Macchio

By Gregory J. Campeau '11

image

If earning all-conference and all-New England honors as a soccer player weren’t enough, Lili Ferguson ’11E can now add to her list of athletic achievements important national and international victories in the martial arts.

The U.S. team dominated at last summer’s World Karate Confederation championships, in Florida, thanks to the efforts of Ferguson, the co-captain.

“Our biggest rivals, Italy, had taken the team cup in 2007 after the USA had won it for a decade straight,” Ferguson says, “and we were absolutely determined to defend our home turf.” When the (saw)dust had settled, the U.S. team had indeed earned the overall medal-count victory, reinstalling the United States as the team to beat.

Ferguson also won first place in the female middleweight sanbon kumite (three-point fighting), beating out several of her fellow Americans and a Slovakian, and a bronze in team kata (forms).

Following the international contest, Ferguson competed in the national karate championships, earning five more victories. Not only did she top the middleweight division again but she also took home a gold in team fighting, a silver in Shotokan-style kata, a bronze in the open-weight division and a bronze in the kata grand championships—“the biggest deal of all,” she says.

Starting out as a 6-year-old who merely wanted to imitate the Power Rangers and Ninja Turtles, Ferguson
has since traveled to Japan, Germany and Italy to compete in international tournaments. Last spring, she forwent study abroad in order to train intensively for her June performances.

Photo by Samuel Masinter '04