skip navigation

Mariel Zagunis Wins Senior World Championships Silver Medal

10/12/2011, 8:34am CDT
By No Author

(Catania, Italy) – Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.) won her fourth career individual medal at the Senior World Championships on Wednesday with a silver medal finish.

The win marked the third straight year Zagunis has fenced in the finals of the Senior World Championships after she won gold medals in 2009 and 2010.

Zagunis, the two-time reigning Olympic champion, dominated her bouts throughout the day as she gave up more than nine touches only once – in her opening bout against Elena Muneanu (ROU) which she won, 15-11.

“My first bout with the Romanian started a little shaky, but everyone’s first bouts are always a little shaky and I was able to get my nerves out for the rest of the bouts,” Zagunis said.

In the table of 32, Zagunis defeated Karina Lakerbai (BRA), 15-7.

After wins against Seira Nakayama (JPN), 15-9, and Irene Vecchi (ITA), 15-7, Zagunis secured her berth to the evening final block.

In the semifinals, Zagunis gave up little to Julia Gavrilova (RUS) as she won the bout easily, 15-8.

“I was just trying to keep my focus all day and it worked out. I won every bout pretty solidly until the end of the final bout,” she said.

Zagunis led throughout her final bout against two-time Senior World medalist Sophia Velikaia (RUS) with a score of 13-8, but Velikaia came back to tie the bout at 13 touches and take the lead at 14-13.

“I feel like I fenced really well today until the final seconds of the final bout. I should’ve clinched the final when I was up 13-8, but, unfortunately, I lost a little focus,” Zagunis said. “There was a call that I thought was going to be my attack and instead it was called simultaneous and instead of taking a second to kind of reset and process what just happened, I started running at her because I just wanted to finish the bout and that was exactly the opposite of what I should have done against her and the opposite of what I was doing for the rest of the bout against her and I should have just take a couple seconds for myself to focus and score those last two touches.  She was pretty lost at 13-8 and I just handed her a couple touches and she finished it out.”

Zagunis ended the 2010-2011 season with five international medals to her credit, including gold medals at the Orleans Grand Prix and Pan American Championships, a silver medal at the Moscow Grand Prix and bronze at the London World Cup.

“London is always the big goal. I felt like I was fencing really well in spite of the fact that I don’t feel like I was 100%prepared for this tournament so once I take a little break after Worlds and start really training for London, next summer’s going to be a completely different story,” Zagunis said. “I’m happy with how I fenced until the very end there and I just need to go back to the drawing board and make sure it doesn’t happen again with her or anyone else.”

Ed Korfanty (Portland, Ore.), who serves as both Zagunis’s personal coach as well as the head coach of the U.S. women’s national team, reiterated how difficult it is to earn consecutive titles at the world level

“She’s won this event twice and the Olympics before that and it’s very hard to repeat four, five times in a row. Now she needs to rest and take care of herself and next year we will be ready for London,’ Korfnanty said.

The three remaining U.S. fencers each qualified for competition via top-16 world rankings.

Four-time Senior World Team member Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.) finished 12th. After wins against Margarita Tschomakova (RUS) and Dina Galiakbarova (RUS), Wozniak lost, 15-13, to two-time World silver medalist Olga Kharlan (UKR), 15-13, in the table of 16.

Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.) and Daria Schneider (New York City, N.Y.) each lost in the table of 64.

Muhammad was defeated by Sandra Marcos (ESP), 15-12. Schneider lost to Paola Guarneri (ITA).

The men’s epee individual table of 64 also was held on Wednesday.

Ranked #15 in the world, two-time Olympian Seth Kelsey (Colorado Springs, Colo.) finished in 10th. Kelsey won his table of 64 bout, 13-7, against Yiu Chung Tsui (HKG) and picked up a late victory in the 32 when he won the bout, Dmitriy Karuchenko (UKR), 7-6, in overtime.

In the table of 16 bout, Kelsey and 2010 Senior World Champion Nikolai Novosjolov (EST) were tied at nine each when Novosjolov scored the final to touch win the match.

“I fenced really well all day, but I feel like I made one big tactical mistake in the last 14 seconds of that one and it cost me the match. I thought maybe he would let it go to passivity in the final seconds and it turned out he was having none of that,” Kelsey said. “I’ve never come this close to beating him, though, so I was happy about that and he appeared to respect me more than he did on previous occasions.”

While Kelsey enjoyed a bye into the 64, 2004 Olympic Team member Soren Thompson (New York City, N.Y.) fenced his way through the pools and preliminary rounds to qualify for competition on Wednesday. Thompson’s 61st seed in the table put him against 2010 World medalist Gabor Boczko (HUN) in the first round.

Despite the difficult draw, Thompson won the bout against Boczko, 15-9.

“I dominated the bout because I really had a good plan and I executed it well, so that was good. Without a good plan and a good focus, I could have lost that match,” Thompson said. “I didn’t think the match would be as one-sided as it was just because I know he’s a very strong fencer and he has a tough game to solve. I was able to close out the match pretty easily, but it took a lot of focus and effort to do so.”

Thompson controlled his next bout as well with a 15-8 win over Bartosz Piasecki (NOR).

In the table of 16, however, Thompson lost to Paolo Pizzo (ITA), 15-9, before Pizzo went on to win gold while Thompson finished 16th.

As the #17-ranked fencer in the world before the World Championships, Thompson is expected to move into the top 16 in the world for the remainder of the Olympic qualifying season.

“Getting 16 points [in the rankings] isn’t nothing. It’s a pretty solid result and I fenced very little last year, so it should be possible to only increase my ranking going forward toward London,” said Thompson who took a year off from international competition and just returning to the World Cup season in the spring. “It feels good to get a solid result in after such a tough tournament and it’s good to be back.”

Cody Mattern (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Kelsey and Thompson’s teammate at the 2004 Olympic Games, earned a 15-5 win over Frederik Von Der Osten (DEN) in the table of 64.

In the table of 32, however, Mattern played a defensive game and found himself in overtime against Kyung Doo Park (KOR). The Korean attacked constantly throughout the minute-long period as he defeated Mattern, 5-1.

With the score at 14-13 late in the second period of his table of 64 bout, Ben Bratton (New York City, N.Y.) and Alfredo Rota (ITA) scored a double touch. Bratton celebrated, both fencers shook hands and then Bratton's score was rescinded for going off the side of strip. Rota scored early in the third period to win the bout, 15-14, while Bratton finished 53rd.

Top eight and U.S. results are as follows:

Women’s Individual Saber
1. Sophia Velikaia (RUS)
2. Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.)
3. Olga Kharlan (UKR)
3. Julia Gavrilova (RUS)
5. Ekaterina Diatchenko (RUS)
6. Min Zhu (CHN)
7. Irene Vecchi (ITA)
8. Sabina Mikina (AZE)

12. Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.)
25. Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.)
26. Daria Schneider (New York City, N.Y.)

Men’s Individual Epee
1. Paolo Pizzo (ITA)
2. Bas Verwijlen (NED)
3. Fabian Kauter (SUI)
3. Kyoung Doo Park (KOR)
5. Nikolai Novosjolov (EST)
6. Geza Imre (HUN)
7. Ruben Limardo (VEN)
8. Elmir Alimzhanov (KAZ)

10. Seth Kelsey (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
16. Soren Thompson (New York City, N.Y.)
27. Cody Mattern (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
53. Ben Bratton (New York City, N.Y.)

The competition schedule for the remainder of the week is as follows:

Thursday, Oct. 13 – Individual Table of 64
Women’s Epee
Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas)
Maya Lawrence (Teaneck, N.J.)
Lindsay Campbell (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

Men’s Foil
Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.)
Miles Chamley-Watson (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)
Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

Friday, Oct. 14 – Team Competition
Women’s Foil
Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.)
Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Nicole Ross (New York City, N.Y.)
Doris Willette (Lafayette, Calif.)

Men’s Saber
Daryl Homer (New York City, N.Y.)
Ben Igoe (Staten Island, N.Y.)
Tim Morehouse (New York City, N.Y.)
James Williams (New York City, N.Y.)

Saturday, Oct. 15 – Team Competition
Men’s Epee
Ben Bratton (New York City, N.Y.)
Seth Kelsey (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Cody Mattern (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Soren Thompson (New York City, N.Y.)

Women’s Saber
Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.)
Daria Schneider (New York City, N.Y.)
Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.)
Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.)

Sunday, Oct. 16 - Team Competition
Women’s Epee
Lindsay Campbell (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas)
Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas)
Maya Lawrence (Teaneck, N.J.)

Men's Foil
Miles Chamley-Watson (Philadelphia, Pa)
Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)
Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.)

Tag(s): News