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Seth Kelsey Wins Division I Epee Gold at the North American Cup

12/11/2011, 11:29am CST
By Nicole Jomantas

(Kansas City, Mo.) – Two-time Olympian Seth Kelsey (Colorado Springs, Colo.) returned to competition for the first time since winning gold at the Pan American Games in October to earn his first title of the 2011-2012 domestic season in men’s epee at the December North American Cup at the Kansas City Convention Center on Saturday.

Kelsey went undefeated in the pools to enter the table of 256 with a third seed and a bye into the next round where he defeated Samuel Larsen (State College, Pa.), 15-6.

In the next round, Kelsey won his bout against Gary North (Englewood, Colo.), 15-9, to qualify for the table of 32 where he would meet Gavin Medley (Santa Fe, N.M.) who upset Kelsey in the table of 32 at the National Championships in April. This time, Kelsey ended the bout quickly by a score of 15-2 to continue through the tournament.

“I was very nervous early in the day,” Kelsey said. “I had a bad Nationals this year, but I drew the guy I lost to at Nationals and beat him, 15-2, and after that I feel like I really settled down and was able to keep going.”

After a 15-10 win over Dylan Nollner (Ogden, Utah), Kelsey and Ben Bratton (New York City, N.Y.) – Kelsey’s teammate from the 2010 Senior World Championships where the U.S. Men’s Epee Team won the silver medal – faced off in the next round for an automatic berth into the quarter-finals.

Bratton struggled throughout the bout and Kelsey built a 10-4 lead going into the break before closing out the bout, 15-6.

In the quarter-finals, Kelsey defeated Andras Peterdi (HUN), 15-9, several hours after Peterdi had upset 2004 Olympian Cody Mattern (Colorado Springs, Colo.) in the table of 32. Mattern fenced through the repechage to qualify for the quarters, but was defeated by his Olympic Training Center teammate Jason Pryor (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 15-14.

Kelsey won his semifinal bout against Alexander Tsinis (Little Neck, N.Y.), 15-5, to advance to the finals against Rob Rhea (San Francisco, Calif.) who finished eighth at his first Division I Nationals in April and defeated Pryor, 15-11, in the semis.

With the score tied at six at the break, Kelsey worked to gain a lead in the second period and went on to earn the win, 15-12.

“He was kind of an awkward fencer and it took me awhile to adjust to what he was doing, but once I did, I had a good strip plan and knew I just had to execute it 100%,” Kelsey said. “We’ve been working on things through Zonals and the Pan American Games that I was really able to apply today and, as long as I stuck to the game plan, things really seemed to work out.”

In the Division I women’s saber event, 2011 Senior World team bronze medalist Daria Schneider (New York City, N.Y.) advanced to the gold medal bout against Dora Varga (HUN) after defeating two-time German Senior World Team member Anna Limbach, 15-11, in the semifinals.

Varga, who trains with Schneider at the New York Athletic Club, defeated Schneider’s 2011 Senior World Teammate Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.), 15-14, in the quarter-finals and 2011 Junior and Cadet World Team member Francesca Russo (Wayne, N.J.), 15-9, in the semifinals.

Schneider trailed at the half by a touch, but tied the bout at 12. Varga earned the next two touches and, although Schneider scored once more, Varga won the gold, 15-13.

Three-time Olympian Ann Marsh-Senic (Royal Oak, Mich.) won her first veteran event just six months after turning 40. Marsh Senic, who finished seventh in women’s foil at the Atlanta Games, advanced to the gold medal bout of the +40 foil event after a 10-7 win over seven-time Veteran World Team member Judith Offerle (Winnetka, Ill.)

In the gold medal bout, Marsh defeated Ursula Szpak (Trophy Club, Texas), 10-2, to earn her first veteran title.

“I only train like once every week or every two weeks and I don’t take any lessons, so I felt really stiff at first and my foot control was really off. It’s amazing to me how long it takes for me to warm up now,” Marsh-Senic laughed. “But I love to compete and it’s nice to fence a national event where everyone’s really competitive, but also really nice… They were all very friendly. Judy Offerle, from the very beginning, was very friendly. Even yesterday she was like ‘Ok, are you all ready for tomorrow?’”

Marsh-Senic went on to say that she would like to compete in future Division I events as well as veteran tournaments; however, the schedule wasn’t conducive to fencing both events at this NAC.

“I think if I had a little better timing, I would have fenced Division I as well, but that was last night and since this was this morning, I have a really big problem with my Achilles’ tendon, so I don’t think I would have been able to stand en garde or even advance if I’d fenced the night before,” Marsh-Senic said. “Plus, the women’s foil for Div I isn’t going to be a really fun, friendly event since it’s an Olympic year, so it’s probably not the best to come back in terms of just wanting to compete and I would like to fence that level and this probably isn’t the best time for me to get involved with that since everybody’s probably really stressed.”

Now an emergency room doctor, Marsh-Senic doesn’t have much free time to train, but says she’ll always remain involved in the fencing.

“I love fencing. It’s my passion. I think I’ll always be involved in the sport and I tried to get involved in other ways besides being an athlete, but it just wasn’t that interesting to me. I coached and refereed and I was on some medical committees and stuff, but the thing I like about the sport is actually doing it,” she said.

In the veteran men’s +40 saber event, Bergen County Fencing Club coach Oleg Stetsiv (Staten Island, N.Y.) also won his first ever veteran event with a 10-3 victory over 2011 Veteran World silver medalist Joshua Runyan (San Diego, Calif.) in the final bout.

In the wheelchair men’s foil event, Tariq Alqallaf (KUW) followed his epee win on Friday with a second victory on Saturday when he defeated three-time Paralympian Gerard Moreno (Los Angeles, Calif.), 15-10, in the gold medal final.

As the first qualifying events for the 2012 Veteran World Championships, age group events were held in women’s epee on Saturday.

After winning bronze in the 40-49 event at the Nationals in July, Beth Slikas (Newport, Ore.) moved up into the 50-59 event for the first time and earned the gold medal after a 10-7 final win over Suzanne Bloomer (Mountain View, Calif.)

Reigning Veteran World Champion Elizabeth Kocab (Westland, Mich.) added another NAC title to her collection with a 5-0 win over six-time Veteran World medalist Diane Kallus (Round Rock, Texas).

In the +70 veteran women’s foil event, 12-time Veteran World Team member Patricia Bedrosian (Malibu, Calif.) moved up from the 60-69 age group to +70 for the first time this weekend. Bedrosian defeated 2011 Veteran World medalist Bettie Graham (Washington, D.C.), 10-6, in the semifinals and won her gold medal bout, 10-3 over Diane Reckling (White Plains, N.Y.)

Sixteen-year-old Daniel Sconzo (Merrick, N.Y.) was the day’s youngest gold medalist and, after finishing 17th at the Cadet (U17) NAC in November, Sconzo advanced to his first major gold medal final on Saturday where he defeated 14-year-old William Upbin (Brooklyn, N.Y.) to win the Division II men’s foil title.

Competition continues on Sunday when all four members of the 2011 Pan American Championships gold medal team will be fencing in the Division I women’s epee event, including Beijing Olympian Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) and former Senior World Team members Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas), Lindsay Campbell (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Maya Lawrence (Teaneck, N.J.)

The competition schedule is as follows:

Sunday, Dec. 11
8:30 a.m.
Division I Women’s Epee
Veteran +40 Men’s Foil
Division II Men’s Saber

9:30 a.m.
Wheelchair Men’s Saber

1:30 p.m.
Veteran 50-59 Men’s Epee
Veteran 60-69 Men’s Epee
Veteran +70 Men’s Epee

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

Division I Men’s Epee
1. Seth Kelsey (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
2. Rob Rhea (San Francisco, Calif.)
3. Jason Pryor (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
3. Alexander Tsinis (Little Neck, N.Y.)
5. Cody Mattern (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
6. Lorenzo Casertano (New York City, N.Y.)
7. Andras Peterdi (HUN)
8. James Salem (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

Division I Women’s Saber
1. Dora Varga (HUN)
2. Daria Schneider (New York City, N.Y.)
3. Anna Limbach (GER)
3. Francesca Russo (Wayne, N.J.)
5. Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.)
6. Emily Cheng (Gold River, Calif.)
7. Diamond Wheeler (Portland, Ore.)
8. Gracie Stone (Chicago, Ill.)

Wheelchair Men’s Foil
1. Tariq Alqallaf (KUW)
2. Gerard Moreno (Los Angeles, Calif.)
3. Dennis Aspy (Woodstock, Ga.)
3. Corbin Beu (Phoenix, Ariz.)
5. John Berret, Jr. (Madison, Miss.)
6. DeJuan Surrell (Jackson, Miss.)
7. Richard Zengler (Norcross, Ga.)
8. Randy Lavender (Tupelo, Kans.)

Division II Men’s Foil
1. Daniel Sconzo (Merrick, N.Y.)
2. William Upbin (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
3. John Vivian (Spotsylvania, Va.)
3. Julian Tang (CAN)
5. Michael Dubois-Boudazza (CAN)
6. Deven Desai (Westborough, Mass.)
7. Joshua Derbabian (Jacksonville, Fla.)
8. Simon Solaro (FRA)

Veteran Women’s 50-59 Epee
1. Beth Slikas (Moraga, Calif.)
2. Suzanne Bloomer (Mountain View, Calif.)
3. Janice Midgley (Tinton Falls, Mich.)
3. Dianna McMenamin (South Hadley, Mass.)
5. Valerie Asher (Bethesda, Md.)
6. Rosanna Lacarra (Carlsbad, Calif.)
7. Amy Montoya (Las Vegas, Nev.)
8. Maria McCormick (Lakewood, Colo.)

Veteran 60-69 Women’s Epee
1. Elizabeth Kocab (Westland, Mich.)
2. Diane Kallus (Round Rock, Texas)
3. Bonnie Aher (Brookfield, Conn.)
5. Cynthia Runyon (Flagstaff, Ariz.)
6. Deborah Theriault (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
7. Linda Dunn (Greenfield, Ind.)
8. Pamela Katz (Buckeye, Ariz.)

Veteran +70 Women’s Epee
1. Patricia Bedrosian (Malibu, Calif.)
2. Diane Reckling (White Plains, N.Y.)
3. Ellen O’Leary (Decatur, Ga.)
3. Bettie Graham (Washington, D.C.)

Veteran +40 Men’s Saber
1. Oleg Stetsiv (Staten Island, N.Y.)
2. Joshua Runyan (San Diego, Calif.)
3. Misha Mironovas (Columbus, Ohio)
3. Ted Smith (Diamond Springs, Calif.)
5. Mike Krasnich (CAN)
6. Jae Sang (San Marino, Calif.)
7. Paul Hicha (Mesa, Ariz.)
8. Laszlo Gal (Fishers, Ind.)

Veteran +40 Women’s Foil
1. Ann Marsh-Senic (Royal Oak, Mich.)
2. Ursula Szpak (Trophy Club, Texas)
3. Judith Offerle (Winnetka, Ill.)
3. Anne-Marie Walters (Parkland, Fla.)
5. Lynn Botelho (Indiana, Pa.)
6. Margaret Fagan (New York City, N.Y.)
7. Elizabeth Merritt (Washington, D.C.)
8. Rebecca Schneider (Culver, Ind.)

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