Brown Student-Athletes Excel at Maccabiah Games

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Nine Brown University student-athletes from five different programs recently competed at the 19th Maccabiah Games, as the best Jewish athletes in the world gathered in Israel from July 17-30 for top-level competition.

The third-largest international sporting event in the world, the Maccabiah Games draws more than 7,000 athletes from 60 countries and features high-level competition in 34 sports. The games are held every four years in Israel, as the best Jewish athletes from throughout the world compete in Open, Masters, Juniors, and Disabled competitions.

Sophie Bikofsky (Newton, Mass.), a rising junior on the women's basketball team, helped the United States win the gold medal. The U.S. cruised through pool play undefeated, including a tough overtime victory over host Israel, and knocked off Australia, 90-45, in the semifinals. The U.S. then downed Israel in the final, 72-56, as Bikofsky netted 12 points to help her team grab the gold medal.

"We are very proud of Sophie Bikofsky's efforts to train at such a high level and represent Brown Basketball internationally," said Brown women's basketball head coach Jean Marie Burr. "Congratulations to the USA team!"

Rising juniors Ophir Bernstein (Allen, Texas) and Zachary Tanenbaum (Leawood, Kan.) of the wrestling team represented the United States at the Games, and both went on to achieve individual success. Bernstein, who wrestled at 84 kgs, claimed the gold medal in freestyle and the silver in Greco-Roman, while Tanenbaum won bronze at 66 kgs in both styles of wrestling.

Hannah Koper (Santa Barbara, CA), an incoming freshman on the women's water polo team, and former attacker Laura Presant '10 (Poway, Calif.) helped the United States capture the gold medal. The team earned a 31-1 victory over Brazil in the first round of the tournament, and then played to a 19-3 win over Hungary and a 12-7 triumph over Israel to clinch the gold.

Three Bears represented their respective countries in the men's water polo competition, with rising senior James McNamara (Los Angeles, CA) and rising sophomore Will Klein (Pasadena, CA) competing for the United States, and incoming freshman Yahel Murvitz-Lahav (Tel Aviv, Israel) playing for Israel. The two teams battled it out over the five-game tournament, with the United States earning five wins to take the gold medal. Israel lost just once, to the United States, and earned the silver medal.

Rising sophomore Sigal Markowitz (Long Beach, NY), a member of the women's crew team, represented the United States in rowing at the Games. Markowitz competed in single sculls and double sculls, winning medals in both events. After advancing through the heats in the single sculls, she defeated Israel's Anat Marcus in the 'B' Final to claim the bronze medal with a time of 8:29.93. In the double sculls, she and partner Michaela Streitfield won the gold medal in a time of 7:40.34, triumphing over Israel in the 'A' Final.