Timisoara Junior World Cup Champions Delphine DeVore, Natalie Minarik, Sylvie Binder and May Tieu with Coach Gidon Retzkin. Photo Credit Gidon Retzkin.
(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – The U.S. Women’s Foil Team opened the Junior World Cup season with a gold medal in Timisoara, Romania on Sunday that propelled the Americans to a No. 1 World Ranking.
Both of the Junior U.S. Foil Teams now hold No. 1 World Rankings, joining France which holds top position for the men’s and women’s epee squads.
Following the aging out of three members of the team that won silver at the 2017 Junior World Championships, 18-year-old Sylvie Binder (Armonk, N.Y.) stepped into the anchor role to lead Team USA to three straight victories with 17-year-old Natalie Minarik (Glen Oaks, N.J.), a 2017 Cadet World bronze medalist, and 2017 Cadet World Team members May Tieu (Belle Mead, N.J.) and Delphine DeVore (Westport, Conn.)
The win would not come easily, however, as each of Team USA’s opponents would provide a challenge for the young squad.
Team USA found itself trailing France in the quarter-finals by four touches, 18-14, after the fourth bout when Tieu went on a 7-1 run against Ilona Henaff to push the Americans back into a 21-19 lead. France came back during the final rotation, however, to tie the match at 37 after eight bouts. Binder, who also won bronze in the individual competition, outscored Henaff, 8-3, in the anchor bout, to secure a 45-40 win for Team USA.
In the semifinals, the third-seeded Americans faced No. 2 Russia – a team led by Junior World No. 3 Victoria Yusova. Both Minarik and Binder would post 6-3 wins over the young Russian star. Minarik took her victory over Yusova in the sixth bout and Binder went on to defeat the Russian in the anchor leg, closing the match at 45-30.
Although Binder posted +11 indicators in the first two matches, the gold medal final would be much closer as the Hungarian squad kept the match within a single touch by the end of the sixth bout with Team USA leading the match, 24-23. In the seventh, Tieu held off a comeback attempt by Kata Kondricz with an 8-8 tie. Minarik won the setup bout, 4-3, against Nora Hajas to give Binder a two-touch cushion at 36-34 going into the anchor bout. Flora Pasztor, a 2014 Cadet World bronze medalist, pushed the score to a tie at 42, forcing the match to go to overtime. Binder countered an attack by Pasztor to score the winning touch with a single light.
The win marks Team USA’s third gold medal in its last four events, adding to wins at the Junior Pan American Championships in March and the Moedling Junior World Cup in January.
In the individual event, Binder won her first career individual Junior World Cup medal with a bronze on Saturday.
Ranked No. 2 out of pools, the Columbia freshman earned a bye into the table of 64 where she defeated Yukino Tosa (JPN), 15-8. After a 15-3 win against Katarzyna Matysiak (POL), Binder defeated Yuka Ueno (JPN), 15-10, to advance to the quarter-finals.
Binder edged Kondricz, 15-14, to secure a podium finish, but lost her semifinal bout to Sumire Tsuji (JPN), 15-3.
The win allows Binder, the 2016 Cadet World Champion, to move from No. 21 to No. 9 in the Junior World Rankings. Binder remains No. 1 in the USA National Rolling Point Standings, leading DeVore who sits in the No. 2 position.
Emme Zhou (Lexington, Mass.) and Stefani Deschner (Mechanicsville, Va.) each earned top-16 results.
Zhou’s 11th place finish would be a career-best for the 16-year-old who was fencing in just her third Junior World Cup appearance.
Deschner, a freshman at Notre Dame who won bronze at the 2016 Cadet Worlds, finished 16th – a result which allowed her to move from No. 5 in the National Rolling Point Standings to No. 2 while Morgan Partridge (Swansea, Mass.), a two-time Junior World team silver medalist, climbed from No. 4 to No. 3 after a 15-11 loss to Deschner in the table of 32.
Click here to view complete results.
Top eight and U.S. results are as follows:
Timisoara Women’s Foil Junior World Cup
1. Sumire Tsuji (JPN)
2. Alexandra Sunduchkova (RUS)
3. Sylvie Binder (Armonk, N.Y.)
3. Marta Ricci (ITA)
5. Rio Azuma (JPN)
6. Kamilla Tsibirova (RUS)
7. Morgane Patru (FRA)
8. Kata Kondricz (HUN)
11. Emme Zhou (Lexington, Mass.)
16. Stefani Deschner (Mechanicsville, Va.)
17. Morgan Partridge (Swansea, Mass.)
18. May Tieu (Belle Mead, N.J.)
37. Sara Martos (El Cerrito, Calif.)
38. Isabelle Elizondo (Cypress, Texas)
42. Lauren Scruggs (Ozone Park, N.Y.)
55. Natalie Minarik (Glen Oaks, N.Y.)
58. Karina Wang (Timonium, Md.)
74. Maia Weintraub Philadelphia, Pa.)
106. Delphine DeVore (Westport, Conn.)
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