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Race Imboden Wins Gold in Milwaukee

12/08/2012, 8:58am CST
By Nicole Jomantas

(Milwaukee, Wis.) – At 19-years-old, Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.) has competed at his first Olympic Games, been ranked among the top four fencers in the world and recently walked the runways at New York’s Fashion Week.

But, it’s the pursuit of winning gold at all levels that keeps Imboden focused and he was back on the strip to earn his first North American Cup title of the season at the December NAC in Milwaukee on Friday.

Competing at the Delta Center, Imboden went undefeated in the pools and didn’t give up more than six touches to any opponent before the quarters where he fenced 2011 Cadet World Team member Nobuo Bravo (San Francisco, Calif.)

Imboden took an early lead at 5-0, but Bravo scored six straight touches to reclaim the lead at 6-5.

By the end of the first period, however, Imboden outscored Bravo, 7-2, for a total score of 15-7 against a tired and visibly ill Bravo.

Imboden scored the first touch of the second period and needed one more score to close out the bout, but Bravo went on a six-touch run before Imboden finished with a 15-13 win.

In the semifinals, Imboden took on two-time Junior World Team Champion David Willette (Lafayette, Calif.) and won the bout, 15-11.

Imboden’s London Olympic teammate Miles Chamley-Watson (Philadelphia, Pa.) defeated Libyan Olympian Zain Shaito, 15-3, in the other semifinal to advance to the gold medal final for the second straight NAC.

In the gold medal final, Imboden led the bout, 4-1, in the first minute before Chamley-Watson tied the bout first at four and then again at six.

Imboden picked up seven of the next eight touches to take a 13-7 lead and held off a late surge by Chamley-Watson to win the bout, 15-10.

“We’re both emotional guys on the strip and we’re both really amped out there and Miles is one of those guys who gets on a streak and it’s like you can’t stop him sometimes. I just tried to not let him get on too many streaks and keep focus in the bout. He can be unstoppable once he gets on those streaks and starts running down the strip,” Imboden said. 

The win is Imboden’s second NAC podium win of the season after taking bronze at the October tournament.

Imboden’s gold medal also allows him to retain his #1 U.S. ranking as he ends the North American Cup series and prepares for the start of the World Cup circuit in January.

And, although there are nearly four years left until the Rio de Janeiro Games, Imboden is already focused on the next stage of his career.

“There’s a lot of little things that you learn along the journey. That year before London taught me a lot about myself and what I want to do in the sport. I think qualifying for London and really reaching that pinnacle is something I can check off my list and now I can focus on what I really want to do at the Olympics in the future. There’s a lot of weight off your shoulders of finally getting it done,”

Not that it’s all work for Imboden.

Since the Games, he took some time off – “My coach made me,” Imboden said – and began school at St. John’s where he is likely the only freshman at the university who can say that he has walked in both the Opening Ceremony of an Olympic Games and down a runway during Fashion Week.

After returning from London, Imboden was approached to start modeling and kicked off his career with four appearances on the runway as he walked for Marc Jacobs, Duckie Brown, General Idea and J.Lindeberg.

Imboden credits his early success in modeling to the media attention he garnered during the year prior to the Games.

“I think the trick about fencing that people forget is that the top athletes need to treat fencing like all the other top athletes do. What you need to do is focus on doing your best at these competitions and if you’re doing what you can do to do your best, the media will come to you and the opportunities will come to you and you just have to take them,” he said. “As fencers, we sometimes tend to push ourselves into the media sometimes. I think the best option is to just focus on keeping yourself ready and in the game and those will be the times that really jump out and you get to do some really nice things.”

Another fencer competing in the events on Friday also has had some newly found free time since the Games.

Women’s saber coach Ed Korfanty (Portland, Ore.) turned 60 earlier this year and the former USA Fencing Coach of the year entered the Veteran 60-69 men’s saber event as one of three former Veteran World Champions to fence in the 16-person event.

A three-time Veteran World Champion in the 50-59 age group, Korfanty defeated 2012 Veteran 60-69 Saber World silver medalist Joseph Streb (Dublin, Ohio), 10-4, in the semifinals.

In the gold medal final, Korfanty led 2011 Veteran 60-69 World Champion Wang Yung (Bellevue, Wash.), 5-3, at the half before closing out the win.

As the personal coach for two-time Olympic Champion Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.) as well as a myriad of up-and-coming junior fencers, Korfanty noted that his travel schedule was packed with international events during the year leading up to the Games and he didn’t have time to compete himself.

“I just do it for fun. I’m not as busy as I was before the Olympic Games, so it’s always a pleasure to fence vets,” said Korfanty who noted that competing helps his coaching skills as well.  “Coaching is tough because you have to watch how your fencers struggle sometimes, but when you’re on the strip you know what you want to do and how to use your action. And when I fence I get a lot of ideas and motivation to help my coaching.”

Three current former Veteran World Champions won the veteran 50-59, 60-69 and +70 events.

Two-time Veteran World Champion Jane Eyre (Swedesboro, N.J.) met 2012 Veteran World silver medalist Chaz Smith (Diamond Springs, Calif.) in the 50-59 saber event. The bout was a rematch of their National Championship final in July. Although Smith won their last bout, Eyre held a 5-3 lead at the half. Smith closed the gap to 9-8, but Eyre scored the last touch to win the bout, 10-8.

Three-time Veteran World Champion Delia Turner (Philadelphia, Pa.) defeated a pair of 2012 Veteran World medalists to win her third NAC title of the season. In the semifinal bout, Turner defeated 2012 Veteran World 60-69 silver medalist Linda Dunn (Indianapolis, Ind.), 10-5.

On the opposite side of the bracket, Jeannine Bender (Princeton, N.J.) was fencing in her first 60-69 saber event since aging out of the 50-59 age bracket – a category she won bronze in at the Veteran World Championships. Turner came out quickly and took a 3-0 lead that Bender would whittle down to 5-4 at the half. Turner finished the bout, 10-7, to win the event.

Following her gold medal win in the +70 women’s saber event at the Veteran World Championships in Krems, Austria in October, Ellen O’Leary (Decatur, Ga.) continued her streak of being undefeated in domestic +70 saber competition on Friday. O’Leary was seeded first out of the pools and earned a bye into the gold medal final where she defeated Sherry Green (Portland, Ore.), 10-5. Three-time Veteran World Team member Una Jackson (Hilton Head, S.C.) took bronze.

Josh Runyan (San Diego, Calif.), a silver medalist in 50-59 saber at the 2011 Veteran World Championships, fell just short of qualifying for this year’s team, but he began his quest for a position on the 2013 squad well with a gold medal win on Friday.

Runyan defeated 2012 Veteran World Champion Will Milne (Redwood City, Calif.), 10-8, in the quarters and advanced to the gold medal final after a 10-6 win over Andrew Houle (North Dartmouth, Mass.) Fencing for gold, Runyan won his final bout over 2012 Veteran World Team member Val Kizik (Indianapolis, Ind.), 10-5.

Seven-time Veteran World medalist Ray Sexton (Round Rock, Texas) moved up from the 60-69 age category to the +70 event where he won men’s saber gold with a 10-4 win over five-time Veteran World medalist Jim Adams (Rockville, Md.) in the gold medal final.

For the first time, this year the veteran events will include competition in the 40-49 age group at each of the Veteran NACs.

Bill Becker (Gilbert, Ariz.), the 2011 USA Fencing National Champion in Veteran 40-49 saber, celebrated his 47th birthday celebration on Thursday with a NAC title on Friday after he defeated Stephen Andrews (Bloomington, Ind.), 10-4, in the gold medal final.

Forty-one-year-old Mehmet Tepedelenlioglu (La Honda, Calif.) won his first NAC title with a gold medal in the Veteran Open epee event. Tepedelenlioglu defeated 51-year-old Michael Perka (Mountain View, Calif.), 10-4, in the final bout of the event that was open to entries of anyone ages 40 and older.

The women’s Veteran Open foil competition featured three members of the 2012 Veteran World Team finishing as the top three on the podium. Four-time Veteran World medalist Anne-Marie Walters (Parkland, Fla.) defeated three-time Veteran World medalist Jennette Starks-Faulkner (Middletown, Conn.), 10-5, in the semifinals.

In the opposite semifinal, Ursula Szpak (Trophy Club, Texas) defeated Elizabeth Merritt (Washington, D.C.), 10-6, to advance to the gold medal final.

When a passivity call sent the gold medal bout into overtime, Szpak was given priority and the two battled for the minute-long period where Szpak scored the final touch in the last seconds of the bout to tie the bout and secure the win due to the rule that states that if a bout is tied at the end of the overtime period, the fencer with priority wins.

In the wheelchair men’s epee event, 2012 Paralympian Ryan Estep (Florence, Miss.) fenced Tariq Alqallaf (KUW) in the gold medal final of his first tournament since London. Alqallaf, a former Wheelchair World Champion, won the bout, 15-5.

Estep’s Paralympic teammate, 16-year-old Catherine Bouwkamp (Fishers, Ind.) continued her streak of being undefeated in U.S. women’s competition for more than two years with her win in the wheelchair women’s epee competition.

Bouwkamp defeated Catherine Thomas (Atlanta, Ga.) in the gold medal final, 15-4.

Sixteen-year-old Stephanie Ying (New York City, N.Y.) won her first gold medal at a North American Cup when she defeated 15-year-old Amy Zhao (Cambridge, Mass.), 15-11, in the Division II women’s epee gold medal final.

Competition continues on Saturday with the schedule as follows (NOTE: All times are approximate start times, NOT check-in times):

Saturday, December 8
8:30 a.m.
Division I Men’s Epee
Division I Women’s Saber
Veteran +70 Women’s Epee
Division I Women’s Saber

9:30 a.m.
Wheelchair Men’s Foil

10 a.m.
Division II Women’s Foil

11 a.m.
Veteran 40-49 Women’s Epee
Veteran 50-59 Women’s Epee

12:30 p.m.
Division II Men’s Foil

1:30 p.m.
Wheelchair Women’s Foil
Veteran Open Men’s Saber

2:30 p.m.
Veteran 60-69 Women’s Epee

Visit for complete results.

Top eight results are as follows:

Division I Men’s Foil
1. Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
2. Miles Chamley-Watson (Philadelphia, Pa.)
3. David Willette (Lafayette, Calif.)
3. Zain Shaito (LIB)
5. Nobuo Bravo (San Francisco, Calif.)
6. Michael Dudey (Bellaire, Texas)
7. Eli Schenkel (CAN)
8. Max Blitzer (Staten Island, N.Y.)

Wheelchair Men’s Epee
1. Tariq Alqallaf (KUW)
2. Ryan Estep (Florence, Miss.)
3. Joshua Russell (Mendenhall, Miss.)
3. David Xu (Staten Island, N.Y.)
5. Randy Lavender (Tupelo, Miss.)
6. Darryl Weiss (Santee, Calif.)
7. DeJuan Surrell (Jackson, Miss.)
8. Rick Zengler (Norcross, Ga.)

Wheelchair Women’s Epee
1. Catherine Bouwkamp (Fishers, Ind.)
2. Catherine Thomas (Atlanta, Ga.)
3. Ellen Geddes (Johnston, S.C.)

Veteran Men’s 40-49 Saber
1. Bill Becker (Gilbert, Ariz.)
2. Stephen Andrews (Bloomington, Ind.)
3. Andre Xagoraris (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
3. Misha Mironovas (Columbus, Ohio)
5. David Minton (Durham, N.C.)
6. Peter Grandbois (Granville, Ohio)
7. Louis Montorio (New York City, N.Y.)
8. Jeff Rockas (Seattle, Wash.)

Veteran Men’s 50-59 Saber
1. Josh Runyan (San Diego, Calif.)
2. Val Kizik (Indianapolis, Ind.)
3. Dan Corrigan (Phoenix, Ariz.)
3. Andrew Houle (North Dartmouth, Mass.)
5. Steven Heck (Laurel, Md.)
7. Paul Hicha (Mesa, Ariz.)
8. Gypsy Gelnaw (Fullerton, Calif.)

Veteran Men’s 60-69 Saber
1. Ed Korfanty (Portland, Ore.)
2. Wang Yung (Bellevue, Wash.)
3. Joseph Streb (Dublin, Ohio)
3. Garik Gutman (Rockville, Md.)
5. Larry Pinkus (Kensington, Md.)
6. Keith Baker (McLean, Va.)
7. Philip Sbarbaro (Vienna, Va.)
8. David Seuss (Charlestown, Mass.)

Veteran Men’s +70 Saber
1. Ray Sexton III (Round Rock, Texas)
2. James Adams (Rockville, Md.)
3. Lucas Dobrzanski  (Bakersfield, Calif.)
3. Bill Hall (Acton, Md.)
5. Victor Bianchini (San Diego, Calif.)
6. Thomas Fischer (Raytown, Mo.)
7. Peter Calderon (Plainsboro, N.J.)
8. David Kosow (Gaithersberg, Md.)

Veteran Women’s 50-59 Saber
1. Jane Eyre (Swedesboro, N.J.)
2. Chaz Smith (Diamond Springs, Calif.)
3. Miyako Derose (JPN)
3. Robin Pernice (Carlisle, Mass.)
5. Lydia Mazorol (Simi Valley, Calif.)
6. Rita Comes (Palo Alto, Calif.)
7. Beth Vance (Clarkston, Mich.)
8. Robin King (Seattle, Wash.)

Veteran 60-69 Women’s Saber
1. Delia Turner (Philadelphia, Pa.)
2. Jeannine Bender (Princeton, N.J.)
3. Agota Balot (AUT)
3. Linda Dunn (Indianapolis, Ind.)
5. Diane (Sparks, Nev.)
6. Judith Offerle (Winnetka, Ill.)
7. Annie Mannino (Lebanon, N.J.)
8. Kit Boesch (Lincoln, Neb.)

Veteran +70 Women’s Saber
1. Ellen O’Leary (Decatur, Ga.)
2. Sherry Green (Portland, Ore.)
3. Una Jackson (Hilton Head, S.C.)

Veteran Open Men’s Epee
1. Mehmet Tepedelenlioglu (La Honda, Calif.)
2. Michael Perka (Mountain View, Calif.)
3. John Varney (Issaquah, Wash.)
3. Michael LoParco (Houston, Texas)
5. Benoit Pouliquen (Eden Prairie, Minn.)
6. Mark Wheeler (San Jose, Calif.)
7. Drew Ridge (Warminster, Pa.)
8. Allen Evans (Oakton, Va.)

Veteran Open Women’s Foil
1. Ursula Szpak (Trophy Club, Texas)
2. Anne-Marie Walters (Parkland, Fla.)
3. Jennette Starks-Faulkner (Middletown, Conn.)
3. Elizabeth Merritt (Washington, D.C.)
5. Lisa Marx (Weston, Mass.)
6. Michelle Verhave (Purdys, N.Y.)
7. Diane Ferguson (Rockville, Md.)
8. Corie Ripple (Rockford, Mich.)

Division II Women’s Epee
1. Stephanie Ying (New York City, N.Y.)
2. Amy Zhao (Cambridge, Mass.)
3. Olivia Briffault (New York City, N.Y.)
3. Susan Fredendall (Seattle, Wash.)
5. Eugenia Kim (Lexington, Mas.)
6. Ariana Tafti (New York City, N.Y.)
7. Katie Wahler (Palo Alto, Calif.)
8. Kim Rahl (Eaton Rapids, Mich.)

Tag(s): News  Catherine Bouwkamp  Jane Eyre  Race Imboden  Victor Bianchini  Ursula Szpak  Robin Pernice  Linda J. Dunn  Ellen O'Leary