Santa Clara freshman stunned by split-decision loss
THE SANTA CLARA
April 10, 2014
Described as an “uncrowned national champion” by her head coach, freshman Cameron McCarthy is still the first All-American female boxer to represent Santa Clara in the National Collegiate Boxing Association Championship event despite losing the championship bout last weekend in West Point, New York.
“I’m not sure how I didn’t win,” said McCarthy. “There’s no really good answer to why I lost.”
The championship fight came down to a split decision that ultimately favored McCarthy’s opponent, Kellsie Pence from the University of Washington. McCarthy previously faced and defeated Pence in a regional championship bout.
“You just can’t bet on college boxing,” said Head Coach Pierre Moynier. “I would have bet my house (that McCarthy would win).”
Santa Clara’s head coach was perplexed by the result based on how the first bout ended in the freshman’s favor.
“(McCarthy) beat (Pence) up worse than last time,” said Moynier. “(McCarthy) lit her up with every punch, every time. Pence was bloodied and bruised and (McCarthy) didn’t have a scratch on her.”
The Santa Clara freshman expressed similar opinions, unable to fully grasp the ultimate decision made by the judges.
“I thought I fought her better this time than last time, since it was a rematch,” McCarthy added. “Last time, I threw one or two punches. This time I was throwing combinations and blocking her shots.”
Also confounded by McCarthy’s loss was three-time NCBA champion and Santa Clara alumnus Andy Bean, who was in her corner at West Point in place of Moynier.
“It was a fantastic fight,” said Bean. “Both fighters made adjustments and fought better than in their previous match. In the end, (McCarthy) lost a split decision in a fight I thought she won just as handily as she did against the same opponent three weeks earlier. On the bright side, she won over an entire crowd and now has fans on the East Coast.”
Despite the loss, Bean praised McCarthy’s resilience in the face of adversity.
“She did all of this with unfamiliar coaching in her corner, a bad chest cough and the misfortune of being the only Santa Clara boxer there, with no teammates to lean on,” said Bean.
Bean graduated in 1992 with three national boxing titles under his belt, an experience that he holds dearly in his memory.
The former Santa Clara student noted that boxing was a memorable and fulfilling part of his college days. In addition to building physical and mental strength in the ring, Bean also embraced the camaraderie that the sport offered, something that he said has continued to this day.
“Being able to spend time with (McCarthy) and her family affirmed for me that college boxing still attracts the same kind of people now as it did then,” said Bean.
The freshman’s family is no stranger to boxing either. Her grandfather, Terry McCarthy, a West Point graduate with boxing experience of his own, was in attendance to cheer on his granddaughter.
“It was great having my grandpa there,” said McCarthy. “He and his alumni friends came and watched my fight and were telling me about boxing at West Point and how it’s changed so much. It made the sport feel that much cooler to me.”
Going forward, McCarthy will shake off the loss and continue training.
“She’ll be back,” said Moynier. “She’s a very determined person. She trains hard and has improved tremendously since she started and in the last couple weeks. The coaching staff and I couldn’t be more proud of her. She’s going to be a true leader on this boxing team.”
Even away from the ring, Bean acknowledged that McCarthy will continue to grow as a leader.
“She’s going to go on and accomplish things of far greater importance than boxing because she’ll seldom have to do anything as hard as climbing between those ropes,” said Bean.
McCarthy will spend the summer months on the training ground and in the ring refining her skills in anticipation for a redemption season next year.
“I think I deserved that national championship, so I’m going to prove to everyone why I should get it next year,” she said.
Contact Sydney Sanchez at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4852.