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Mariel Zagunis Wins Second Consecutive National Championship

04/14/2019, 12:30am CDT
By Kristen Henneman

Mariel Zagunis won her second Division I National Championship title on Friday.

Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.) has already won back-to-back gold medals on the world’s biggest stage at the Olympic Games and Senior World Championships.

Now she’s earned consecutive National Championships as well.

Zagunis, the most decorated athlete in the history of USA Fencing, earned the Division I National Championship on Friday in Salt Lake City, and has now won three straight golds on the North American Cup circuit after taking the NAC title in October.

2019 USA Fencing Division I/Wheelchair National Championships and April NAC Results

The four-time Olympic medalist was perfect on the day, going 6-0 in pools and 5-0 in the direct elimination rounds.

The No. 1 seed out of pools, Zagunis earned a bye into the table of 32, where she defeated Sky Miller (Durham, N.C.), 15-8. With a 15-12 victory over Gillian Adynski (Chapel Hill, N.C.) and a 15-10 win against 2019 NCAA bronze medalist Veronica Czyzewski (Caldwell, N.J.), Zagunis secured her place in the medal rounds.

In the semifinals, Zagunis bested 2012 National Champion Francesca Russo (Wayne, N.J.) by a score of 15-8. Up 10-7, Zagunis scored four straight touches and five of the next six to move into the final.

Fencing for gold, Zagunis faced 2016 National Champion Kamali Thompson (Teaneck, N.J.) While Thompson led the bout early at 4-3, Zagunis went on an 11-1 run en route to taking the gold, 15-6, becoming the first women’s saber fencer to repeat since Becca Ward (Washington, D.C.) in 2007 and 2008.

With the Senior World Championship Team being selected at the end of April after the Seoul Grand Prix, Zagunis  has mathematically secured a place on her 17th Senior World Championship Team alongside 2018 Senior World bronze medalist Eliza Stone (Princeton, N.J.)  Rio Olympic team bronze medalist Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.) currently sits in third in the standings going into the final event for team selection.

In a tight race for fourth position in the rankings, several athletes are in contention to qualify for the World Team, including Aleksandra Shelton (Tigard, Ore.) who bolstered her fourth place position in the National Team Point Standings with a top-16 finish in Salt Lake City. A 2018 Senior World Team member, Chloe Fox-Gitomer (Portland, Ore.), traveled from the Junior World Championships in Poland to Salt Lake to compete this weekend. After a top-eight finish in Salt Lake, the Princeton freshman sits fifth in the rankings. Monica Askamit (Matawan, N.J.), a Rio Olympic team medalist, is seeking to qualify for a fourth Senior World Championships, but currently holds the sixth-place position in the rankings.

Violet Michel (Cambridge, Mass.), a 2015 Junior World Team member and junior at Columbia, also earned a position on the podium in Salt Lake City, taking bronze.

Wheelchair National Championships also were on the line on Friday as Will Chase (Dacula, Ga.) and Shelby Jensen (Salt Lake City, Utah) claimed the men’s and women’s épée titles.

Competing in her hometown, Jensen won her first National Championship title and second gold on the NAC circuit as she took the top step of the podium at the October NAC.

Jensen qualified second out of pools at 6-2 and earned a bye into the semifinals. After edging out Vikki Espinosa (Portland, Ore.), 15-13, Jensen dominated the final against Ellen Geddes (Johnston, S.C.), who took seventh at the Kyoto Wheelchair World Cup, by a score of 15-2.

Hailey Bauer (Denver, Colo.) also took bronze.

Chase, who competed in his first wheelchair competition in January, also earned his first National Championship with Josh Russell (Mendenhall, Miss.) taking silver and Tim Volkers (Holland, Mich.) and Curtis Lovejoy (College Park, Ga.) securing bronze.

Chase went 11-1 in pools to take the No. 1 seed and a bye into the semis, where he continued to roll with a 15-5 victory over Volkers.

In the final, Chase overcame Russell by a score of 15-10.

Gold medals also were awarded at the April North American Cup in veteran events as well as Division II and III competition

In the veteran women’s 60-69 women’s épée event, five-time individual Vet World Champion Liz Kocab (Farmington Hills, Mich.) took gold, her fourth straight on the NAC circuit.

Kocab went undefeated on the day with a 6-0 sweep in pools and a 4-0 record in the DEs.

After cruising past Carol Dannhauser (Fairfield, Conn.), 10-3, in the 16, Kocab reached the gold medal match with a 10-6 victory over Joanne Groening (Farmingdale, N.Y.) and a 10-7 win over Louise Leighton (Mishawaka, Ind.)

In a close final, Kocab overcame 2013 Vet World bronze medalist Cristina Gordet (Coral Gables, Fla.), 10-9.

Charlotta Bowie (Still Pond, Md.) earned the fourth spot on the podium with bronze.

In the veteran 50-59 women’s épée competition, Sharrie Zafft (Worthington, Mass.) clinched her first NAC title. Angelica Brisk (Cambridge, Mass.) earned silver while Ann Totemeier (Boulder, Colo.) and Valerie Asher (Bethesda, Md.) took bronze.

Zafft, who competed at her first Vet Worlds last year, made quick work of her first two bouts, blazing past Donna Rios (Sterling, Va.), 10-2, before earning a convincing win over Jeannine Prokop (Herndon, Va.), 10-4.

With a 10-6 victory over Michele Tayengco (Henderson, Nev.), Zafft secured a medal. That medal would be gold with 10-8 victories over Totemeier and Brisk.

While Zafft won her first NAC gold, Anna Estrada (San Francisco, Calif.) won her first NAC title since 2011 with the title in the veteran +70 women’s épée event.

The victory would require three wins over Vet World Team members. After defeating three-time Vet World Team member Sally Higgins (Tinton Falls, N.J.) in the quarters, 10-6, Estrada outtouched six-time Team member Bonnie Aher (Shoreline, Wash.), 8-7.

In the final, Estrada fenced six-time individual Vet World medalist Diane Kallus (Round Rock, Texas) and came out on top, 10-8.

Two-time Vet World Team member Gemin Channing (Frederick, Md.) also won bronze.

The veteran 40-49 women’s épée competition saw Sarah Zolinski (Greenwood, Neb.) take gold, Nicole Quinlan (Danville, Penn.) claim silver and Michele Chimienti (Temple City, Calif.) and Janet Marsh (Murrieta, Calif.) earn bronze.

Competing in her first veteran event at a NAC, Zolinski easily won her first two bouts over Teodora Stanica (Fremont, Calif.), 10-4, and Alison Frey (Seabrook, Texas), 10-3.

With a medal guaranteed, Zolinski bested both Chimienti and Quinlan, 10-7, for gold.

In the veteran 50-59 men’s foil competition, Frets Olivares (New York, N.Y.) broke though for gold after taking bronze at his last four NACs.

After defeating Nestor Grajales (Maitland, Fla.), 10-6, and Oliver Foellmer (Santa Monica, Calif.), 10-4, Olivares drew two Vet World Team members.

He overcame 2018 Vet World Team member Marek Wyszynski (Forest Hills, N.Y.), 10-7, before edging out three-time Vet world Team member Don Davis (Potomac, Md.), 10-9.

Two-time Vet world Team member John Kissingford (Ouray, Colo.) also claimed a spot on the podium with bronze.

John Lawrence (Glen Rock, N.J.) took gold in the veteran 50-59 men’s foil event. Henri Darricau (Littleton, Colo.) earned silver while Edward Kaihatsu (Skokie, Ill.) and Jerry LeBlanc (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) claimed bronze.

Lawrence, who won gold at this event in 2017, started the DE rounds with a 10-6 victory over Thomas Chambers (Lansdale, Pa.)

His next two bouts would come down to a single point as he edged out Matt Wilbert (Boxborough, Mass.), 6-5, and Philippe Bennett (New York N.Y.), 5-4.

After a 10-8 win over Kaihatsu in the semifinals, Lawrence came up with another clutch win, this one over six-time Vet World Team member Darricau, 7-6.

Heik Hambarzumian (Anaheim, Calif.) secured the gold in the veteran +70 men’s foil event with Jan Patterson (Seattle, Wash.) taking silver and Julian Tyson (Amherst, Mass.) and Ronald King (San Diego, Calif.) earning bronze.

Competing in the +70 category for the second time, Hambarzumian won his first gold in the category and second NAC title overall.

Undefeated on the day with a 4-0 record in pools, Hambarzumian cruised past William Pegues (Reston, Va.), 10-4, and nearly earned the sweep over John Rea (Wilmington, N.C.), 10-1.

In the medal rounds, Hambarzumian bested Tyson, 10-6, before outtouching two-time Vet world bronze medalist Patterson, 10-9, for gold.

In the veteran +80 men’s foil competition, Eduardo Desevilla-Pierce (MEX) overcame Marcel Miernik (Las Vegas, Nev.), 10-5, and Fritz Chang (Lexington, Mass.), 10-8, for his second Veteran +80 title after also taking gold at the December NAC.

Fourteen-time Veteran World Team member Jim Adams (Rockville, Md.) also won bronze.

The veteran 40-49 men’s foil competition saw Alvin Teo (SGP) win gold, Julian Tang (CAN) earn silver and Michael Strickland (Irmo, S.C.) and David Chen (Radnor, Pa.) secure bronze.

At his first NAC, Teo held Dan Berke (Kirkland, Wash.) to just two points before defeating Chen in the semifinals, 10-5.

In the final, Teo posted a 10-7 victory over Tang.

Four golds were also handed out in the Division II and Division III events.

Riley Robinson (Las Vegas, Nev.), Chin-Yi Kong (San Mateo, Calif.), Rachel Buhay (Castle Rock, Colo.) and Matthew Zhou (Plano Texas) all won their first NAC titles with golds in the Division II men’s épée, Division II women’s foil, Division III women’s saber and Division II men’s saber competitions, respectively.

Top eight results are as follows:

Division I Women’s Saber National Championships

1. Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.)

2. Kamali Thompson (Teaneck, N.J.)

3. Violet Michel (Cambridge, Mass.)

3. Francesca Russo (Wayne, N.J.)

5. Nora Burke (New York, N.Y.)

6. Liz Tartakovsky (Livingston, N.J.)

7. Veronica Czyzewski (Caldwell, N.J.)

8. Chloe Fox-Gitomer (Portland, Ore.)


Wheelchair Men’s Épée National Championships

1. Will Chase (Dacula, Ga.)

2. Josh Russell (Mendenhall, Miss.)

3. Tim Volkers (Holland, Mich.)

3. Curtis Lovejoy (College Park, Ga.)

5. Noah Hanssen (Ellicott City, Md.)

6. DeJuan Surrell (Jackson, Miss.)

7. Randy Lavender (Tupelo, Miss.)


Wheelchair Women’s Épée National Championships

1. Shelby Jensen (Salt Lake City, Utah)

2. Ellen Geddes (Johnston, S.C.)

3. Hailey Bauer (Denver, Colo.)

3. Vikki Espinosa (Portland, Ore.)

5. Anna Kennedy (Ogden, Utah)


Division II Men’s Épée April North American Cup

1. Riley Robinson (Las Vegas, Nev.)

2. Atticus Bliss (Missoula, Mont.)

3. Patrick Burton (Toluca Lake, Calif.)

3. Matthew Cox (ARE)

5. Spencer Gordon-Sand (New York, N.Y.)

6. Alexander Moses (Los Angeles, Calif.)

7. Rami Goldman (Denver, Colo.)

8. Kai Cummings (Bozeman, Mont.)


Division II Women’s Foil April North American Cup

1. Chin-Yi Kong (San Mateo, Calif.)

2. Gracie Cho (Hillsborough, Calif.)

3. Paulina Lee (Tacoma, Wash.)

3. Shanon Luu (San Francisco, Calif.)

5. Ziwen Luo (CHN)

6. Sofia Molho (Boston, Mass.)

7. Elisabeth Kim (Tacoma, Wash.)

8. Claire Teresa Galavotti (Oak Park, Ill.)


Division III Women’s Saber April North American Cup

1. Rachel Buhay (Castle Rock, Colo.)

2. Maya Desai (Dallas, Texas)

3. Kayla Turnof (Westfield, N.J.)

3. Samantha Koo (Tenafly, N.J.)

5. Michelle Julien (Parkland, Fla.)

6. Lena Rhie (Boston, Mass.)

7. Katherine Andres (Rolling Hills Estates, Calif.)

8. Sara Atluri (New York, N.Y.)


Veteran 40-49 Women’s Épée April North American Cup

1. Sarah Zolinski (Greenwood, Neb.)

2. Nicole Quinlan (Danville, Penn.)

3. Michele Chimienti (Temple City, Calif.)

3. Janet Marsh (Murrieta, Calif.)

5. Sandra Marchant (Prospect, Conn.)

6. Kundry Haberkern (Seattle, Wash.)

7. Sue Mohebi (Woodland Hills, Calif.)

8. Alison Frey (Seabrook, Texas)


Veteran 50-59 Women’s Épée April North American Cup

1. Sharrie Zafft (Worthington, Mass.)

2. Angelica Brisk (Cambridge, Mass.)

3. Ann Totemeier (Boulder, Colo.)

3. Valerie Asher (Bethesda, Md.)

5. Rosa Cano-Diosa (ESP)

6. Carola Schmid (Seattle, Wash.)

7. Christine Tadlock (Sunnyvale, Texas)

8. Michele Tayengco (Henderson, Nev.)


Veteran 60-69 Women’s Épée April North American Cup

1. Liz Kocab (Farmington Hills, Mich.)

2. Cristina Gordet (Coral Gables, Fla.)

3. Charlotta Bowie (Still Pond, Md.)

3. Louise Leighton (Mishawaka, Ind.)

5. Ellen Finnegan (West Roxbury, Mass.)

6. Caroline Rich (Reno, Nev.)

7. Dianna McMenamin (South Hadley, Mass.)

8. Joanne Groening (Farmingdale, N.Y.)


Veteran +70 Women’s Épée April North American Cup

1. Anna Estrada (San Francisco, Calif.)

2. Diane Kallus (Round Rock, Texas)

3. Gemin Channing (Frederick, Md.)

3. Bonnie Aher (Shoreline, Wash.)

5. Bettie Graham (Washington, D.C.)

6. Sally Higgins (Tinton Falls, N.J.)

7. Muriel Cawthorn (Rehoboth, Mass.)

8. Patricia Lutton (Cupertino, Calif.)


Veteran 40-49 Men’s Foil April North American Cup

1. Alvin Teo (SGP)

2. Julian Tang (CAN)

3. Michael Strickland (Irmo, S.C.)

3. David Chen (Radnor, Pa.)

5. Stephen Pashby (Durham, N.C.)

6. Rolando Balboa (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

7. Dan Berke (Kirkland, Wash.)

8. Bryan Jones (Tigard, Ore.)


Veteran 50-59 Men’s Foil April North American Cup

1. Frets Olivares (New York, N.Y.)

2. Don Davis (Potomac, Md.)

3. Marek Wyszynski (Forest Hills, N.Y.)

3. John Kissingford (Ouray, Colo.)

5. Oliver Foellmer (Los Angeles, Calif.)

6. Roustam Pimoutkine (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

7. Adam Feldman (Wyomissing, Pa.)

8. Gary Hayenga (Ann Arbor, Mich.)


Veteran 60-69 Men’s Foil April North American Cup

1. John Lawrence (Glen Rock, N.J.)

2. Henri Darricau (Littleton, Colo.)

3. Edward Kaihatsu (Skokie, Ill.)

3. Jerry LeBlanc (Manhattan Beach, Calif.)

5. Jamie Douraghy (Los Angeles, Calif.)

6. Philippe Bennett (New York, N.Y.)

7. Thomas Lutton (Cupertino, Calif.)

8. Ron Hendricks (Kaysville, Utah)


Veteran +70 Men’s Foil April North American Cup

1. Heik Hambarzumian (Anaheim, Calif.)

2. Jan Patterson (Seattle, Wash.)

3. Julian Tyson (Amherst, Mass.)

3. Ronald King (San Diego, Calif.)

5. Rinaldo Campana, Sr. (McLean, Va.)

6. John Rea (Wilmington, N.C.)

7. James Brykczynski (Ewing, N.J.)

8. Paul Kazimiroff (Pacific Palisades, Calif.)


Division II Men’s Saber April North American Cup

1. Matthew Zhou (Plano, Texas)

2. Kevin Sohn (Irvine, Calif.)

3. Jack Yan (Culver, Ind.)

3. William Wun (Manhattan, N.Y.)

5. Peter Flores (Wilton, Calif.)

6. Brendan Tang (Short Hills, N.J.)

7. Nash Young (Palo Alto, Calif.)

8. Ryan Cappelluti (Roseville, Calif.)


Veteran +80 Men’s Foil April North American Cup

1. Eduardo Desevilla-Pierce (MEX)

2. Fritz Chang (Lexington, Mass.)

3. Marcel Miernik (Las Vegas, Nev.)

3. Jim Adams (Rockville, Md.)


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