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U.S. Mens Foil Team Defeats Italy and Qualifies for London at La Coruna World Cup

02/20/2012, 3:27am CST
By No Author


(Colorado Springs, Colo.) –Competing against three of the top six men’s foil fencers in the world, Team USA defeated Italy in the quarter-finals of the La Coruna Foil World Cup in Spain on Sunday.

The win marked the first time Team USA has ever defeated Italy and the first time the Italian Men’s Foil Team lost a match at a World Cup since January, 2011.

Beijing Olympian Gerek Meinhardt (Lafayette, Calif.) anchored Team USA to a 45-33 win in the table of 16 against Great Britain to advance to the quarter-finals where Meinhardt, Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) and Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.) would fence an Italian team that included 2011 Senior World Champion Andrea Cassara, Senior 2009 World Champion Andrea Baldini and 2011 Senior World silver medalist Valerio Aspromonte who defeated Massialas in the quarter-finals of the individual event on Saturday.

Massialas avenged his loss to Aspromonte in the second bout of the match when he outtouched the Italian, 6-4, to bring Team USA to a 10-9 lead.

In the third bout against Meinhardt, Cassara returned the lead to the Italians , 15-11, but Imboden picked up six touches against Aspromonte to take the score to 20-17.

Meinhardt split the fifth bout against Baldini with five touches each as the Italians held onto a three-score lead.

The sixth bout would be pivotal for Team USA as Massialas outscored Cassara, 8-2, to earn a 30-27 lead for Team USA.

Meinhardt held onto the lead as he split his bout with Aspromonte, 5-5, and Imboden outscored Cassara, 5-4 – a key win for the American who fell to Cassara in the semifinals of the Paris Foil World Cup in January.

With a 40-36 lead going into the final bout, Massialas closed out the match against Baldini for a 45-43 win.

In the semifinals, however, Team USA fell to a German team that needed a medal win to stay in the Olympic qualification hunt and the Americans were outscored, 45-32, before Germany went on to win gold.  

Fencing for bronze, Team USA trailed Korea, 20-6, but came back to tie the bout at 41 with Meinhardt as the anchor. Korea continued its momentum, however, and ended the bout, 45-42.

The U.S. men’s fourth place finish guarantees them a berth in the Olympic Games with one World Cup remaining in the team qualification process.

“It was a great day for Team USA as we are finally on the right path for success at the London Olympic Games,” said lead coach Greg Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) “We were able to keep the guys focused and believing that they could make it happen and now we’re just looking forward to refocusing for the individual grand prix in Venice and the world cup in Bonn in the next few weeks.”

Individual U.S. Olympic Team slots will be announced on April 15 as the top three U.S. men in the National Team Point Standings at the conclusion of the USA Fencing Division I National Championships in Virginia Beach, Va. The fourth athlete in the rankings will be named as the team’s replacement athlete.

Top eight results are as follows:

La Coruna Foil World Cup
1. Germany
2. France
3. Korea
4. USA
5. Italy
6. Russia
7. Japan
8. China

Tag(s): News  Gerek Meinhardt