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Skyla Powers Wins Gold, Team USA Goes 1-2-3 at Sunstate Mechanical Junior World Cup

02/05/2012, 10:36am CST
By No Author

(Chandler, Ariz.) – Sixteen-year-old Skyla Powers (Decatur, Ga.) won her first Junior World Cup tournament on Saturday when she led a 1-2-3 finish for Team USA at the Sunstate Mechanical Junior World Cup at the Fencers Club of Arizona in Chandler, Ariz.

A silver medalist at this tournament in 2011, Powers advanced out of the pools as the eighth seed to meet Tania Torres Victoria (MEX) in the table of 32.

Victoria nearly upset the Powers, but the 2011 Junior Worlds top-eight finisher pulled out the win, 15-13.

“I wasn’t really thinking like I should have been for most of it, but at the very end I pulled through,” Powers said.

Powers refocused during her next two bouts to advance to the evening semifinal block after a 15-7 win over Alekxsandra Echeverria (MEX) and a 15-9 victory over Sage Palmedo (Portland, Ore.)

With Powers set to fence Imola Bakos (CAN) in the semifinals, her Nellya Fencing teammate Margaret McDonald (Atlanta, Ga.)

Seeded third in the tournament, McDonald earned a bye into the 16 where she trailed Emma Keehan (Erie, Pa.) by a touch at the break, but came back to win the bout, 15-13, at Keehan’s home club.

McDonald won her quarter-final over Brianna Steele (Mesa, Ariz.) who was the second athlete from the Arizona Fencers Club to finish in the top eight.

McDonald, a 2011 Cadet World Team member, took control of the bout early to end the preliminary rounds with a 15-4 win and a berth in the semifinals against Adrienne Jarocki (Middle Village, N.Y.) who won her quarter-final bout against Gabriella Page (CAN), 15-8.

After a three-hour break, athletes returned to the venue for an evening final block.

Powers opened the evening session with a 15-4 win over Imola Bakos (CAN) to advance to the gold medal bout at this event for the second straight year.

In the second semifinal, McDonald and Jarocki fenced a close bout with neither fencer pulling away by more than a touch in the second half.

With Jarocki up, 14-13, McDonald came back to score the next two touches to win the bout, 15-14.

Jarocki, who has fenced for just over two years, earned her first Junior World Cup bronze medal a week after taking the silver at the London Cadet European Cup.

In the gold medal bout, Powers led, 8-7, at the break, but pulled ahead in the second half to take a 11-7 lead. Powers held her teammate to just two more touches before winning the bout, 15-14.

“In the second half, I just tried to stay focused on how I was going to win,” Powers said of her 7-2 run. “It’s not very fun fencing your teammate since we fence each other all the time, but I felt like it was different from our practice bouts which was good because we both fenced on a more competitive level. We’re pretty competitive at practice, too, but it was more intense this time.”

Powers, who has fenced in four Junior World Cups this season, said she enjoyed competing against a new set of fencers in Phoenix.

“It’s a lot different because the Europeans aren’t here, but there’s a lot of athletes from around North and South America here and I never really get to fence them, so that was cool,” Powers said.

Competition continues on Sunday with the men’s event.

Top eight and U.S. results are as follows:

Sunstate Mechanical Junior Saber World Cup
1. Skyla Powers (Decatur, Ga.)
2. Margaret McDonald (Atlanta, Ga.)
3. Adrienne Jarocki (Middle Village, N.Y.)
3. Imola Bakos (CAN)
5. Sage Palmedo (Portland, Ore.)
6. Gabriella Page (CAN)
7. Sophie Keehan (Erie, Pa.)
8. Brianna Steele (Mesa, Ariz.)

11. Lena Johnson (Peachtree City, Ga.)
12. Emma Keehan (Erie, Pa.)
13. Alyssa Hofilena (Miller Lane, N.Y.)

14. Stephanie Wang (Cupertino, Calif.)
16. Ilana Kamber (Short Hills, N.J.)

18. Yelizaveta Sapozhnikov (Sudbury, Mass.)
19. Anastasia Pineschi (Los Angeles, Calif.)

21. Kimberly Young (Gilbert, Ariz.)
22. Sarah Gruman (Hermosa Beach, Calif.)
23. Anastasia Ivanoff (Los Angeles, Calif.)
26. Caroline Gilchrist (Moss Beach, Calif.)
28. Arabella Uhry (New York City, N.Y.)

29. Allison Barry (Cranford, N.J.)

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