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2019 Senior World and Pan American Championship Team Announcement

04/30/2019, 10:15am CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Eli Dershwitz won silver at the 2018 Senior Worlds and remains No. 1 in the world. Photo Credit: Augusto Bizzi.

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – USA Fencing is pleased to announce the selection of the athletes who have been named to compete in the individual events at the 2019 Senior World Championships which will be held from July 15-23 in Budapest, Hungary.

The 24 athletes selected for this team also will compete at the 2019 Pan American Championships, June 28 – July 2 in Toronto, Canada.

The top four athletes on the Senior National Team Point Standings for each weapon were named to individual berths on the Senior World and Senior Pan Am Teams. 

Team USA includes eight Olympic medalists and 14 Senior World medalists overall as well as one first-time member of a Senior National Team in each of the six squads.

Athletes selected for team events will be announced in the coming weeks.

Men's Individual Foil

For the ninth straight year, a trio of Olympians will compete together on the world stage. Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.) and Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) won bronze together in the team event at the 2016 Olympic Games as well as three Senior World team silver medals. Each of these three fencers also have been individually ranked No. 1 in the world. Meinhardt holds two Senior World Championship individual bronze medals (2010, 2015) with Massialas winning Senior World silver in 2015 and Olympic silver in 2016. For the first time since 2010, a new face will join the squad at the with 19-year-old Nick Itkin (Los Angeles, Calif.) qualifying for his first senior team. The 2018 Junior World Champion and two-time NCAA Champion for Notre Dame had a breakout season this year, winning bronze at the Bonn World Cup in November and placing in the top eight in Cairo in March. Among them, these four athletes have won medals at five of the first six tournaments on the circuit this season. Now ranked No. 3 in the world, Imboden earned three medals in a row with silver and bronze at the Tokyo and Paris World Cups in January and gold at the Torino Grand Prix in February. World No. 6 Meinhardt earned silver in Paris and bronze in Torino. Massialas sits 10th in the world standings after a bronze in Cairo.

Men’s Individual Foil World Rankings
3. Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
6. Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.)
10. Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)
28. Nick Itkin (Los Angeles, Calif.)

Women’s Individual Foil

The core of the women’s foil team also have competed together for the better part of a decade with Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.), Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Nicole Ross (New York City, N.Y.) fencing on every Senior World Team since 2010, including the 2018 Senior Worlds where Team USA won its first-ever gold at the event. All three fencers are ranked among the top 16 in the world with Kiefer holding the No. 3 position after bronze medals in Katowice, Poland in January and Cairo in March. Kiefer and Prescod each hold past individual medals at the Senior Worlds with Kiefer’s bronze coming in 2011 and Prescod’s in 2015. Both athletes earned top-eight results individually at the 2018 Senior Worlds with Ross placing in the top 16. A four-time Junior World team medalist, Jackie Dubrovich (Riverdale, N.J.) qualified for her first Senior World Team with a pair of top-16 finishes on the circuit this season as well as a top-eight finish at the 2018 Shanghai Grand Prix. 

Women's Individual Foil World Rankings
3. Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.)
12. Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
14. Nicole Ross (New York City, N.Y.)
35. Jackie Dubrovich (Riverdale, N.J.)

Men’s Individual Saber

World No. 1 Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass.) won silver at the 2018 Senior World Championships to end the 2017-18 season as the Overall World Cup Champion and won gold at the Warsaw World Cup in February followed by four fifth-place finishes. Rio Olympic silver medalist Daryl Homer (Bronx, N.Y.) is ranked No. 10 in the world after a top-16 finish at the 2018 Senior Worlds and a pair of top-16s on the circuit this season. Due to schedule conflicts with his doctorate program at New York University, 2012 Olympian Jeff Spear (Wynantskill, N.Y.) was only able to compete at four of this season’s six World Cup circuit tournaments, but earned top-32 results in two and a top-64 at another to qualify for his first Senior World Team since placing fourth in the team event at the 2017 Worlds. A 2017 Junior Pan American Champion, Khalil Thompson (Teaneck, N.J.) qualified for his first Senior World Team with silver or bronze medal finishes at the first three North American Cups of the season and top-64 results at four of six international events.  

Men’s Individual Saber World Rankings
1. Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass.)
10. Daryl Homer (Bronx, N.Y.)
98. Khalil Thompson (Teaneck, N.J.)
117. Jeff Spear (Wynantskill, N.Y.)

Women’s Individual Épée

The anchor of the first U.S. Women’s Épée Team to earn a medal at the Olympic Games in 2012, two-time Olympian Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) became the first U.S. épée fencer ever to win an individual Senior World medal in 2018 with a bronze in Wuxi. Hurley, who also won silver at the 2018 Cali Grand Prix, earned her third international medal in less than a year at the Chengdu World Cup in China last month to move up to No. 5 in the world. Older sister Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas), a three-time Olympian, earned two top-eight finishes on the circuit this year and is now No. 7 in the world. The sisters have now competed on 12 straight Senior World Teams together, dating back to 2006 when Courtney was just 16 years old. Rio Olympian Kat Holmes (Washington, D.C.), anchor of the squad that won gold at the 2018 Senior Worlds, is aiming to improve on a career-high individual finish at the 2018 Senior Worlds where she finished 10th. Kasia Nixon (Los Angeles, Calif.), a 2018 NCAA Champion for Princeton, will compete at her first Senior Worlds after winning individual silver at the 2017 Junior Worlds and bronze at the 2014 Cadet Worlds.

Women’s Individual Épée World Rankings
5. Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas)
7. Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas)
26. Kat Holmes (Washington, D.C.)
68. Kasia Nixon (Los Angeles, Calif.)

Men’s Individual Épée

For the first time since the 2007-08 season, U.S. men’s épée fencers won three individual medals in the same season this year. Jake Hoyle (New York City, N.Y.) earned bronzes at the Doha Grand Prix in January and the Vancouver World Cup in February and Curtis McDowald (Jamaica, N.Y.) followed with bronze at the Budapest Grand Prix in March. Both Hoyle and McDowald made their Senior World debuts in 2018 where McDowald finished one round off the podium in eighth place. A 2011 Junior World Team member, James Kaull (New York City, N.Y.) earned a top-16 finish at the Cali Grand Prix last May to help secure a berth on his first Senior World Team. A 2017 Senior World Team member, Adam Rodney (New Orleans, La.) was one of the most consistent men’s épée fencers on the North American Circuit this season, medaling at three of the last four tournaments, including a silver at the Division I National Championships earlier this month.

Men’s Individual Épée World Rankings
7. Curtis McDowald (Jamaica, N.Y.)
9. Jake Hoyle (New York City, N.Y.)
101. James Kaull (New York City, N.Y.)
174. Adam Rodney (New Orleans, La.)

Women’s Individual Saber

All four members of this year’s squad have won medals at the Senior World Championships with Eliza Stone (Chicago, Ill.) entering as the reigning bronze medalist at the event and World No. 8. A two-time Olympic Champion and two-time individual Senior World Champion, Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.) will be fencing on this stage as an individual for the first time since the 2016 Olympic Games. Zagunis, who returned to competition in 2018 after having a baby in 2017, competed in the team event at the 2018 Senior Worlds where the squad finished fifth. Zagunis earned bronze last May at the Moscow Grand Prix and is seeking a return to the podium in Budapest. A bronze medalist in the team event alongside Zagunis at the Rio Games, Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.) earned three top-16 results on the circuit this year. A 2003 Senior World medalist for her native Poland, Aleksandra Shelton (Tigard, Ore.) now holds U.S. citizenship and will fence at the Senior Worlds for the first time as an American. The 37-year-old placed in the top 16 individually at the 2018 Senior Worlds and earned top-32 results at three events on the circuit this season. 

Women’s Individual Saber World Rankings
8. Eliza Stone (Chicago, Ill.)
13. Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.)
28. Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.)
32. Aleksandra Shelton (Tigard, Ore.)

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