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Maya Lawrence Wins Gold at December NAC in Kansas City

12/12/2011, 5:46am CST
By No Author

(Kansas City, Mo.) – Four-time Senior World Team member Maya Lawrence (Teaneck, N.J.) came one step closer to qualification for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team with her gold medal win at the December North American Cup at the Kansas City Convention Center on Saturday.

Currently ranked #2 in the nation in Division I women’s epee, Lawrence’s win helped improve her rankings and is Lawrence’s first individual podium finish since she placed second at this event in 2010.

Seeded fourth after the pools, Lawrence had a bye into the table of 64 where she earned a one-touch win over 15-year-old Katie Angen (Santa Monica, Calif.), 12-11.

“I fenced a lot of Y14 and cadets today. People I’d never seen before and never fenced before, so it was interesting getting advice from some of my AC teammates who are cadets who were able to tell me who people were because I was just like ‘I don’t know who some of these people are. I’ve been fencing longer than they’ve been alive,’” Lawrence laughed.

In the table of 32, Lawrence defeated Nina Van Loon (Boulder, Colo.), but lost to New York Athletic Club teammate Holly Buechel (New York City, N.Y.), 13-12, in the next round.

“I really like the AC because there’s such a great time dynamic and they’re all really helpful, but then when we fence each other it’s like the worst part of the day. I had to fence Holly today and that kind of sucks, but there’s repechage so I still had another shot,” Lawrence said.

In the repechage system used only in Division I epee events at this tournament, Lawrence defeated 17-year-old Aleina Edwards (Los Angeles, Calif.), 15-7, and 13-year-old Kasia Nixon (Los Angeles, Calif.), 15-8.

The wins moved Lawrence into the quarter-finals where she defeated Isabella Barna (Bend, Ore.), 15-13.

In the semifinals, Lawrence met 2008 Oympian Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) who had just come off a win over her younger sister, six-time Senior World Team member Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas), 15-11.

Lawrence controlled the bout against the elder Hurley to earn the win, 15-11, and advance to the final against Francesca Bassa (Houston, Texas).

Up 13-12 in the second period, Lawrence and Bassa were called for passivity and the bout rolled straight into the third period.

“Every referee uses their discretion and some referees will follow the rules strictly and if there’s no blade contact for 15 seconds and you’re not in fencing distance, they’ll call it and others will let you go a minute and a half even if there’s no contact, but you’re within distance and they see that you’re trying stuff out and they’re ok with it,” Lawrence said. “I’ve gotten passivity called on me two or three other times today, so now I’m an old hat at passivity and I didn’t let it bother me.”

With Lawrence up, 14-13, Bassa scored again to tie the bout at 14.

“Sometimes 14-14 is easier than if you’re up 14-13 because you just know that you have to go all the way and that you’ve just got one opportunity. The nice thing about 14-14 is you’ve had over a dozen touches before that, so you have an idea of what will work. It’s just ‘Is it gonna work? Is it not gonna work? Are you gonna execute it correctly? Is she gonna do something great to hit you?’” Lawrence explained.

And it was Lawrence who picked up the first touch to win the bout, 15-14.

“I had a lot of close bouts today, so it was good that I was able to pull it out,” Lawrence said. “I think the hard work all comes out when you’re right on the edge like that and you get that one last hit. If I win 15-14 or if I win 15-0, I can’t complain.”

In his first tournament of age eligibility in the veteran 50-59 men’s epee event, Maciej Czyzowicz (Denver, Colo.) established himself as a top contender for the 2012 Veteran World Championship Team with his 10-4 gold medal final win over 2009 Veteran World Champion Walter Dragonetti (Elyria, Ohio).

Reigning Veteran World silver medalist Jere Bothelio (San Jose, Calif.) met two of his 2011 Veteran World teammates in the quarter and semifinal rounds of the veteran 60-69 men’s epee event as he defeated Bob Cochrane (Lake Worth, Fla.), 10-9, and James Flint (New Hope, Pa.), 10-2. In the final bout, Bothelio defeated Robert Lipp (Los Gatos, Calif.), 10-6, to win gold.

Jim Adams (Rockville, Md.), a two-time medalist at the Veteran Worlds in October, earned his second medal of the weekend with his gold medal finish in the veteran men’s 70+ epee event. Adams defeated former Veteran World Champion Kazimieras Campe (Edgewater, Md.), 10-9, in the gold medal final.

Fifteen-year-old Jeffrey Dalli (San Carlos, Calif.) won his second NAC title with a gold medal victory in the Division II men’s saber event.  Dalli, who won the Division III saber title at the NAC E in 2010, defeated 15-year-old Ameen Borojerdi (Plantation, Fla.), 15-7, to with the gold.

Seventeen-year-old Ediona Sera (Williston Park, N.Y.) won her first career NAC title in the division II women’s foil event after defeating Gabriella Zusin (Norwood, N.J.) in the final bout, 15-12.

In the veteran men’s +40 foil, Michael Cho (Northville, Mich.) came back from a 5-3 deficit against 2011 NAC D silver medalist Julio Diaz (Lilburn, Ga.) to win the bout, 10-8.

After her seventh place finish on Friday in the veteran 50-59 saber event, Chaz Smith (Diamond Springs, Calif.) earned gold in the +40 saber event where she upset two-time Veteran World Champion Jane Eyre (Swedesboro, N.J.) in the final.

In the wheelchair men’s saber event, Tariq Alqallaf (KUW) defeated 2004 Paralympian Gary Van Der Wege (Kyle, Texas) in the gold medal bout, 15-4. The win is Alqallaf’s third gold medal of the weekend after taking titles in the epee event on Friday and foil on Saturday.

Competition continues on Monday when the Division I men’s saber event highlights the day with 2008 Olympic silver medalists Tim Morehouse (New York City, N.Y.) and James Williams (New York City, N.Y.) scheduled to compete against a field that includes 2011 Senior World Team members Daryl Homer (New York City, N.Y.) and Ben Igoe (Staten Island, N.Y.)

Competition schedule is as follows:

Monday, Dec. 12
8:30 a.m.
Division I Men’s Saber
Division II Men’s Epee
Veteran Men’s 50-59 Foil
Veteran Men’s 60-69 Foil
Veteran Men’s +70 Foil
Veteran Women’s 50-59 Foil
Veteran Women’s 60-69 Foil
Veteran Women’s +70 Foil

Veteran 40+ Women’s Epee
Division II Women’s Saber

Click here for full results. Top eight results are as follows:

Division I Women’s Epee
1. Maya Lawrence (Teaneck, N.J.)
2. Francesca Bassa (Houston, Texas)
3. Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas)
3. Holly Buechel (New York City, N.Y.)
5. Courtney (San Antonio, Texas)
6. Natalie Vie (Phoenix, Ariz.)
7. Anna Van Brummen (Houston, Texas)
8. Isabella Barna (Bend, Ore.)

Wheelchair Men’s Saber
1. Tariq Alqallaf (KUW)
2. Gary Van Der Wege (Kyle, Texas)
3. Gerard Moreno (Los Angeles, Calif.)
3. Dennis Aspy (Woodstock, Ga.)
5. DeJuan Surrell (Jackson, Miss.)

Division II Men’s Saber
1. Jeffrey Dalli (San Carlos, Calif.)
2. Ameen Borojerdi (Plantation, Fla.)
3. Ben Theeman (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.)
3. Karl Beck (Minneapolis, Minn.)
5. Wenrui Lu (Green Brook, N.J.)
6. Jonathan Fitzgerald (East Brunswick, N.J.)
7. Joseph Mitrani (Bay Harbor Islands, Fla.)
8. Alexander Reeves (Lenexa, Kans.)

Division II Women’s Foil
1. Ediona Sera (Williston Park, N.Y.)
2. Gabriella Zusin (Norwood, N.J.)
3. Isabella Bonello (Columbus, Ohio)
3. Amanda Rysling (Hermosa Beach, Calif.)
5. Kimberly Fishman (Hartsdale, N.Y.)
6. Samantha Viqueira (Maplewood, N.J.)
7. Sarah Pak (Upper Saddle River, N.J.)
8. Ursula Szpak (Trophy Club, Texas)

Veteran 50-59 Men’s Epee
1. Maciej Czyzowicz (Denver, Colo.)
2. Walter Dragonetti (Elyria, Ohio)
3. Sean Ameli (Las Vegas, Nev.)
3. Rick Watrall (Mahwah, N.J.)
5. Patrick Wallace (Mendham, N.J.)
6. Dick Richards (Burtonsville, Md.)
7. Mark Segal (Upland, Calif.)
8. Jeffrey Altman (Denver, Colo.)

Veteran Men’s 60-69 Epee
1. Jere Bothelio (San Jose, Calif.)
2. Robert Lipp (Los Gatos, Calif.)
3. James Flint (New Hope, Pa.)
3. Archie Cates (Portland, Ore.)
5. Drew Ridge (Warminster, Pa.)
6. Robert Cochrane (Lake Worth, Fla.)
7. Dwain Blakley (Houston, Texas)
8. Joel Spielberg (Northfield, N.J.)

Veteran Men’s +70 Epee
1. James Adams (Rockville, Md.)
2. Kazimieras Campe (Edgewater, Md.)
3. Mark Henry (Potomac, Md.)
3. Robert Baldwin (Palatine, Ill.)
5. Richard Dunlop (Palatine, Ill.)
6. Marcel Miernik (Irvington, N.Y.)
7. Edward Sady (Fairfax, Va.)
8. Stephan Khinoy (Staten Island, N.Y.)

Veteran Men’s +40 Foil
1. Michael Cho (Northville, Mich.)
2. Julio Diaz (Lilburn, Ga.)
3. Edward Kaihatsu (Skokie, Ill.)
3. John Genn (Herndon, Va.)
5. Bruce Milligan (Savage, Md.)
6. Vitaliy Boksiner (Forth Worth, Texas)
7. John Kissingford (Denver, Colo.)
8. Iaian Valentine (Seattle, Wash.)

Veteran +40 Women’s Saber
1. Chaz Smith (Diamond Springs, Calif.)
2. Jane Eyre (Swedesboro, N.J.)
3. Heidi Runyan (San Diego, Calif.)
3. Kimberly Klein-Braddock (West Linn, Ore.)
5. Mary Wilkerson (Denver, Colo.)
6. Dawn Wilson (Louisville, Ky.)
7. Mary Newstrom (Minneapolis, Minn.)
8. Alyce Athay-Croasdale (Wakefield, R.I.)

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