Men's foil won its 13th straight Pan Am gold in Toronto.
(Toronto, Canada) – Team USA’s squads that are ranked No. 1 in the world, men’s foil and women’s épée, took care of business on Monday at the Pan American Championships in Toronto with both winning gold.
For the men’s foil team the title marked the 13th straight year the squad has stood on the top step of the podium. The women’s épée team has now won gold at three straight and eight of the last nine Pan Ams.
With one day of competition remaining, Team USA has won nine of the 10 gold medals.
With three members of the 2016 Olympic Team that won bronze in Race Imboden (Brooklyn N.Y.), Alex Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) and Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.) as well as 2018 Junior World Champion Nick Itkin (Los Angeles, Calif.), the men’s foil team dominated its first bout of the day against Peru, winning all nine bouts, including three 5-0 wins, for a 45-11 victory.
In the semifinals against Chile, Team USA earned two 5-0 shutouts in the first three bouts to jump out to a 15-3 lead. Up 20-4 after four, the United States didn’t drop a bout and went on to win, 45-25.
Meinhardt led Team USA in both bouts, going +12 and +10.
“We came out ready. We knew that with Olympic qualification this is a chance for a lot of teams to make a push at qualifying,” Meinhardt said. “There are a lot of FIE points on the line here, so we were ready for intense, strong matches and we definitely were up and ready for that challenge from the start of the day.”
Fencing Canada in the final, the United States got off to a strong start at 15-3 after three bouts. Although the home team took two of the next three bouts, the United States maintained its 12-point lead and in the seventh, Itkin, who tallied a +13 indicator on the match, secured a 5-0 victory that put the bout out of reach for the Canadians as Team USA clinched gold, 45-27.
“Nick fenced great,” Meinhardt said. “He brought us a ton of energy, was always fighting, so he gave us a really good boost today.”
The squad now turns its attention to the World Championships, where Team USA has its eyes on gold after claiming silver the last two years.
“We’ll be training in Columbus and we’re all really excited,” Meinhardt said. “Obviously we fell short the past couple times. After some amazing seasons, we had another strong season and we think we’re only getting better, so we’re up for the challenge and we’re ready to put everything into preparing for that road to the gold medal in Budapest.”
The reigning World Champions, the Unites States was represented by Kat Holmes (Washington, D.C.), Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas), Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) and Kasia Nixon (Los Angeles, Calif.)
In the squad’s first bout of the day in the quarter-finals, Holmes got team USA off to a perfect start, going 5-0. Up 16-12, she earned a 5-1 victory and Team USA won the next three bouts to secure a 45-30 victory over Peru.
The semifinals saw Holmes, Courtney Hurley and Nixon all earn +9 indicators or better as they didn’t lose a bout and overcame Argentina, 45-17.
Team USA faced unfamiliar territory in the final as it went down 2-0 in the first bout, but it won the next four rounds to take a 10-point lead, 23-13. Two of those wins came from Nixon, who was competing at her first Pan American Championships, as she went 10-6 and 5-0, leading Team USA with a +10 indicator.
“I was really focused,” Nixon said. “I talked a lot with the coaches and we had a game plan and a plan of attack of what to do. I was just remembering that and feeling the bout and seeing what would happen. I think the energy of everyone gave me a really good focus to fence well.”
The teams split the final four bouts, giving the United States the gold for the third straight year and a strong start to Olympic qualification.
“We definitely had a lot of pressure to win and I know that we were the expected favorite, so that’s even more pressure,” Nixon said. “But we tried to not think about that and just think about every bout one at a time. I’m really happy and it’s a good start to go into Worlds. It was a good run to see how well we work as a team, so I think it’s a good sign.”
Top eight and U.S. results are as follows:
Men’s Team Foil Pan American Championships
5. Puerto Rico
Women’s Team Épée Pan American Championships
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