(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Team USA made history during the Pan American Zonal Championships in July as U.S. athletes swept gold medals in each of the 12 events for the first time ever. Now, Team USA will compete against the best fencers in the hemisphere again when competition begins on Monday at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara.
After returning from a successful Senior World Championships in Catania, Italy earlier this week, team members had just a few days to readjust to North American time zones before they flew to Mexico on Sunday. Team USA includes three athletes for each weapon squad with two competing in the individual event and all three fencing in the team competition.
Highlighting the roster of athletes competing in Guadalajara are four athletes who earned medals at the Senior World Championships.
Two-time Olympic Champion Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.) earned her fourth individual World Championship medal in saber with her silver medal finish in Catania.
Zagunis and Pan Am Games teammates Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.) and Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.) also won the team bronze in Catania. Although all three are first-time Pan Am Games Team members, Zagunis has won three straight individual Pan Am Championship titles. Although the U.S. Team has never lost a women’s team event at the Pan American Championships, Cuba earned the gold over Team USA at the 2007 Pan Am Games. Muhammad, who won bronze at the 2010 Pan Am Championships, will compete in the individual event with Zagunis while Wozniak, a 12th place finisher in Catania, will fence in the team competition.
Seventeen-year-old Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.) was the youngest individual medalist at the Senior World Championships where she earned a bronze in foil at her first Senior Worlds. The two-time reigning Pan American Champion is favored to add a Pan American Games title to her resume.
Kiefer is joined by 2011 Junior World Champion Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.) who defeated Kiefer for gold at the Junior Worlds in April. Doris Willette (Lafayette, Calif.), who finished second at the Pan Ams in August behind Kiefer, will compete in the team event.
After winning silver at the 2010 Senior World Championships, the U.S. Men’s Epee Team earned three medals on the World Cup circuit this season. Two-time Olympian Seth Kelsey (Colorado Springs, Colo.) is joined by his Athens teammates Soren Thompson (New York City, N.Y.) and Cody Mattern (Colorado Springs, Colo.) Kelsey and Thompson each finished in the top 16 at the Senior Worlds and will be competing in the individual event. Mattern will fence in the team event.
Two members of the team that won the silver medal in Beijing will compete in the men’s saber event. Following the withdrawal of 2011 Pan Am Champion Daryl Homer (New York City, N.Y.) from the Pan Am Games roster, James Williams (New York City, N.Y.) moved into the #2 slot on the team and will join his Beijing teammate Tim Morehouse (New York City, N.Y.) in both the individual and team events. Ben Igoe (Staten Island, N.Y.), who finished eighth with Team USA in Catania, will compete in the team event. Williams and Igoe are both veterans of the 2007 Pan Am Games where Williams won the individual silver medal and both athletes were on the squad that won gold in Rio.
A fifth-place finisher at the 2010 Senior World Championships, Miles Chamley-Watson (Philadelphia, Pa.) is one of three foil fencers who will each be competing in his first Pan Am Games. Reigning Junior World silver medalist Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) also will compete in the individual event and 2010 Senior World medalist Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.) will fence in the team event.
The only member of Team USA to have won gold at the 2007 Pan American Games, Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) is returning to defend her title. Among her toughest competition will be her older sister Kelley Hurley (San Antonio Texas), a 2008 Olympian. The Hurleys will be joined in the team event by five-time Senior World Team member Lindsay Campbell (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
The complete athlete roster is as follows. * Indicates athletes who are competing in the team event only:
Seth Kelsey (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Soren Thompson (New York City, N.Y.)
*Cody Mattern (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Miles Chamley-Watson (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)
*Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.)
Tim Morehouse (New York City, N.Y.)
James Williams (New York City, N.Y.)
*Ben Igoe (Staten Island, N.Y.)
Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas)
Kelley Hurley (San Antonio Texas)
*Lindsay Campbell (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.)
*Doris Willette (Lafayette, Calif.)
Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.)
Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.)
*Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.)
The competition schedule is as follows:
Monday, Oct. 24
Men’s Individual Epee
Women’s Individual Foil
Tuesday, Oct. 25
Men’s Individual Foil
Women’s Individual Saber
Wednesday, Oct. 26
Men’s Individual Saber
Women’s Individual Epee
Thursday, Oct. 27
Men’s Team Epee
Women’s Team Foil
Friday, Oct. 28
Men’s Team Foil
Women’s Team Saber
Saturday, Oct. 29
Men’s Team Saber
Women’s Team Epee
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