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Team USA Opens Pan Am Games with Golds from Kiefer and Kelsey

10/25/2011, 5:19am CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Seventeen-year-old Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.) followed her Senior World Championships bronze medal win less than two weeks ago with her second international gold medal this season at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara on Monday.

Fencing in the foil event, Kiefer won her bouts in the table of 16, 15-9, against Barbara Garcia (CHI) and the quarter-finals against Alely Hernandez (MEX), 15-7.

After a semifinal win over Nataly Michel (MEX) in front of a packed crowd, Kiefer advanced to the gold medal bout where she would face teammate Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

The match-up was the third this year for the world class duo with Prescod winning their Junior World final in April and Kiefer earning the victory at the semis of the Pan Am Championships in July.

“Nzingha and I actually end up facing each other quite a bit in international competition,” said Kiefer. “So, even though we don’t train with one another, we really know each other’s styles quite well.”

Kiefer controlled the bout to win gold, 15-9, while Prescod earned the silver to help earn Team USA the position at the top of the fencing medal board on the first day of competition.

The win marks the third straight Pan Am victory for Kiefer who also earned gold medals at the Pan Am Championships in 2010 and in July of this year.

Although Prescod and her teammates were home for less than a week after the Senior World Championships before arriving at the Pan Am Games, Prescod said that she has enjoyed her time in Guadalajara.

“I’m really enjoying my Pan American Games experience,” Prescod said. “The people are so sweet and making this a great time for everyone. Now, I’m looking forward to the team event.”

On Thursday, Prescod, Kiefer and five-time Senior World Team member Doris Willette (Lafayette, Calif.) will aim for a second team title after winning gold at the Pan Am Championships in Reno in July.

A veteran of two Olympic and three Pan American Games Teams, epee fencer Seth Kelsey (Colorado Springs, Colo.) has become used to crowds, arenas and boisterous fans during the past decade of competing on the international circuit. 

His experience fencing around the world came in handy on Monday when he advanced to the evening final block where he fenced two opponents who were each heavily favored by the crowd.

In the semifinals, Reynier Henriquez (CUB) was given a red card and a score was awarded to Kelsey whose lead grew to 9-7. Kelsey closed out the bout, 13-10, to advance to the gold medal bout where he defeated Ruben Limardo (VEN), the fifth-ranked epee fencer in the world, 12-10.

“It was great to have so many people so intensely involved in watching the match,” said Kelsey. “I just stayed focused and put into action the lessons I learned from the recent World Championships, and it paid off.”

Coming off a top-16 finish at the Senior Worlds, Kelsey’s 2004 Olympic Teammate Soren Thompson (New York City, N.Y.) entered the event as the reigning Pan Am Champion after his gold medal win over Limardo in July. Competing against Thompson for the third time this year, Limardo picked up his first win against Thompson this year by a score of 15-11 while Thompson finished seventh overall.

Kelsey, Thompson and Athens Olympian Cody Mattern (Colorado Springs, Colo.) will compete in the team event on Thursday.

Competition continues on Tuesday with the individual men's foil and women's saber events.

Top eight results are as follows: 

Men’s Individual Epee
1. Seth Kelsey (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
2. Ruben Limardo (VEN)
3. Silvio Fernandez (VEN)
3. Reynier Henriquez (CUB)
5. Ringo Quintero (CUB)
6. Paris Nostroza (CHI)
7. Soren Thompson (New York City, N.Y.)
8. Tigran Bajgoric (CAN)

Women’s Individual Foil
1. Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.)
2. Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
3. Monica Peterson (CAN)
3. Nataly Michel (MEX)
5. Mariana Gonzalez (VEN)
6. Alanna Goldie (CAN)
7. Alely Hernandez (MEX)
8. Johanna Fuenmayor (VEN)

Tag(s): News  Lee Kiefer