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October North American Cup Day 1 Results

10/22/2011, 11:15am CDT
By No Author

(Richmond, Va.) – The son of a boxer, 15-year-old Curtis McDowald (Jamaica, N.Y.) tried fencing once, but quit almost immediately. Little did he know that he would one day not just return to the sport, but stand on the top of the podium.

“My mom said ‘hey, do you want to try fencing?’ when I was a little kid and I thought I was going to slash and cut people up and then I was like ‘all you do is poke people?’ and I completely quit,” McDowald laughed.

Several years later, however, his family heard about the Peter Westbrook Foundation – a non-profit organization started by six-time Olympian Peter Westbrook (New York City, N.Y.) for inner-city youth in New York City.

“I was doing a bunch of other sports – tennis, boxing, kickboxing. My father was a boxer. Then later I heard about the Peter Westbrook Foundation and I tried it again and I fell in love with the people even more than the actual fencing and there’s so many more opportunities if I keep with this sport than any other sport,” said McDowald who credits Westbrook with being an inspiration. “Peter’s full of character. He’s very inspiring. Almost every word is like a speech and it can completely turn your day around.”

Although fencing may seem very different from boxing, McDowald said his previous sports experience translated well.

“The training is similar because we do a lot of jump rope. In epee, there’s a lot of bouncing which is very similar to kickboxing,” said McDowald who noted that even his father has become a fan of fencing. “He didn’t like it at first because you’re not really hitting people, but I’m pretty sure he likes it now.”

The decision to give fencing another try led McDowald to the North American Cup in Richmond, Va. on Friday where the teenager won the cadet (U17) epee event to earn his first NAC gold medal as a cadet fencer.

Seeded 32nd after the pools, McDowald won his table of 32 bout against Jake Raynis (Chatsworth, Calif.), the #4-ranked cadet epee fencer in the United States, by a score of 15-7.

In the table of 16, McDowald edged 2011 Cadet World Team member Alexander Eldeib (Burke, Va.), 15-14, to advance to the quarter-finals where he earned another close win against Inaki De Guzman (Fairfax, Va.), 15-14.

After a semifinal win against Conor Shepard (Colleyville, Texas), 15-11, McDowald moved onto the gold medal bout against 14-year-old Anton Piskovatskov (Houston, Texas).

Although McDowald led, 14-11, Piskovatskov scored two more touches to bring the bout to 14-13.

McDowald scored the final touch to win the bout, 15-13.  

“I rushed the first two actions when I was up, 14-11, so I had to calm down and focus on the touches and I knew I just needed to double it up to win so I just needed to relax,” he said.

Just two years after taking up fencing on her high school team as a sophomore, 16-year-old Mounica Paturu (Plainsboro, N.J.) earned gold at the North American Cup in the Division II epee event for athletes rated C or lower by USA Fencing.

Paturu earned a first-round bye and then defeated her next four opponents to advance to the semifinals where she defeated Sara Jones (Basking Ridge, N.J.), 10-8, to earn the right to fence for gold against Molly Hudson (GBR).

Although Hudson had let few of her opponents score double digits throughout the day, Paturu dominated the bout to earn the win, 15-10.

“It was a huge surprise. I’ve only been fencing for two years, so it’s great that I’ve gotten to improve so much. I worked really really hard for these last few months and all summer, so coming here I’m just glad I didn’t have a bad day and that everything was working great and I’m happy I was able to do my best,” Paturu said.

Pataru, who will return to the strip on Monday to compete in the Division III epee, said she has been energized by her quick success and has aspirations of fencing for an Ivy League college after graduation.

“I was between JV and varsity when I started and then my junior year I was on A strip because I just improved a lot and then from there I got MVP and All-State team and so I was like ‘wow! I’m actually good at fencing!’” Pataru said. “I want to fence in college, so I definitely want to improve my fencing as much as possible and do as well at as many NACs as I can this season.”

Benjamin Lin (Beaverton, Ore.) began the first of his two events this weekend with a gold medal win in Division II saber. Although his parents couldn’t travel to the tournament, Lin enjoyed being able to call and tell them that he had gone undefeated in his table, earning six bout wins to qualify for the finals where he defeated Jonah Buchwald (El Granada, Calif.), 15-11.

The win is Lin’s first at a North American Cup since he was 10.

“It’s really satisfying. My parents aren’t here, so it was really great being able to call them up and be like ‘hey, I won!’ and at the same time, from the 16s I didn’t know I was going to win, so it was really encouraging and satisfying to be able to just keep going,” said Lin who will compete in the cadet saber event on Saturday.

In the Division III foil competition for athletes ranked D or lower, Cam Mayer (Newton, Mass.) struck gold at his first NAC.

Fifteen-year-old Mayer, who has been fencing for six years, came back from a two-point deficit in the final bout to defeat Do-Hyung Lee (KOR), 15-11, and earn his sixth table bout win of the day.

“I came back in the last two minutes. My coach gave me the opportunity to do what I wanted to do rather than telling me what to do, so I was able to do what was comfortable for me and I was able to score that way,” Mayer said.

Mayer will compete for gold twice more this weekend as he fences in the cadet foil event on Sunday and the Division II competition on Monday.

Competition continues on Sunday with the following events: Men’s Division III Epee, Men’s Cadet Saber, Women’s Cadet Epee, Women’s Division II Foil and Women’s Division III Saber.

Click here to view complete results. 

Top eight results are as follows:

Men’s Cadet Epee
1. Curtis McDowald (Jamaica, N.Y.)
2. Anton Piskovatskov (Houston Texas)
3. Conor Shepard (Colleyville, Texas)

3. Marc-Antoine Blais-Belanger (CAN)
5. Inaki De Guzman (Fairfax, Va.)
6. Samuel Freiman (Spring, Texas)
7. Brendon Yoder (Parker, Colo.)
8. Benjamin Riviere (San Diego, Calif.)

Division II Women’s Epee
1. Mounica Paturu (Plainsboro, N.J.)

2. Molly Hudson (GBR)
3. Sara Jones (Basking Ridge, N.J.)
3. Marie Lawson (Silver Spring, Md.)
5. Rebecca Rose (Chicago, Ill.)
6. Helen Foster (Swarthmore, Pa.)
7. Ally Ryf (Houston, Texas)

8. Yeonjoo Chung (KOR)

Division II Men’s Saber
1. Benjamin Lin (Beaverton, Ore.)
2. Jonah Buchwald (El Granada, Calif.)
3. Kweon-Ryul Lee (KOR)
3. Nitikorn Dornjandaeng (Houston, Texas)
5. Jonathan Fitzgerald (East Brunswick, N.J.)
6. William Darwin
(Durham, N.C.)
7. Julien Hogues (CAN)
8. Logan Spear (West Linn, Ore.)

Division III Men’s Foil
1. Cam Mayer (Newton, Mass.)

2. Do-Hyung Lee (KOR)
3. Derek Driggs (Golden, Colo.)
3. Ethan Gumagay (Vienna, Va.)
5. Austin Li (Bellevue, Wash.)

6. Gabriel Gelinas (CAN)
7. Yueh-Ting Tsai (Salt Lake, City)
8. Kenji Horiuchi (Great Neck, N.Y.)

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