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College Teammates Reunite for Vet Worlds Podium Finish, Team USA Earns Three Medals on Opening Day

09/28/2011, 9:24am CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

(Porec, Croatia) – More than 30 years ago, Jennette Starks-Faulkner (Middletown, Conn.) and Anne-Marie Walters (Parkland, Fla.) were fencing teammates at Brooklyn College. Although the two friends shared a love of the sport as students, neither imagined the two would share a podium at the Veteran World Championships for athletes ages 50 and older.

“They didn’t have veterans events for the longest time and, even when they did, I didn’t hear about them until a few years ago,” Walters said.

After returning to the sport in 2005, Walters made her first Veteran World Team in 2006.

“I came back out and fenced for a year and told Jennette she had to do it again,” Walters said. “I came out in 2005 and did the Vet Worlds in Bath in 2006. She came out a year later, made the team in 2007 and we’ve been on the team together ever since,” Walters said.

In fact, Starks-Faulkner didn’t just make her first Vet World Team in 2007, but she earned a bronze during her premier outing.

On Wednesday, the two friends stood on the podium together again at the Veteran Worlds in Porec, Croatia as Starks-Faulkner won the silver medal in the 50-59 foil and Walters earned a bronze after silvers in 2009 and 2010.

Starks-Faulkner dominated her pool as she won all five bouts while giving up just eight touches to her opponents to earn a #2 seed in the direct elimination table. Her teammates, Michelle Verhave (Purdys, N.Y.) and Suzanne Brown-Marx (Portland, Ore.) were seeded seventh and 12th while Walters earned a ninth seed.

Starks-Faulkner remained relatively unchallenged by her opponents during the table as she defeated Russian Irina Rafalson, two-time Veteran World medalist Gianna Cirillo (ITA) and 2006 Veteran World medalist Kaoru Amari (JPN) each by margins of at least seven points to advance to her first Veteran World gold medal bout.

In the final, Starks-Faulkner trailed Britta Hilgers (GER), one touch to two after the first period of the bout.

In the second period, Starks-Faulkner returned to the bound energized from a break with a new energy and quickly made up her deficit and earned a two-point lead against the 2010 Veteran World bronze medalist.

“I wanted to fence a little smarter and make my timing a little better in the second period,” Starks-Faulkner said.

The German matched Starks-Faulkner’s pace, however, and tied the score at four before pulling out an 8-6 win.

“Unfortunately, once I got ahead, I kept making attacks. My strength is parry-riposte and I got away from that,” Starks-Faulkner said. “I wanted to hear the American anthem so badly and I could have fenced a tad better in the final, but I had some really good DE bouts.”

Starks-Faulkner was the third American Hilgers defeated on Wednesday.

In a rematch of the 2010 Vet Worlds semi, Hilgers controlled her match against Walters in the semis to earn a 10-1 win which eliminated Walters from competition before the gold medal bout for the first time since 2008.

“I knew that she was going to be ready for me because we had a 10-9 match last year, but somehow I was kind of sluggish,” Walters said. “I was hoping for a USA final and I really wanted it to be gold, but I’m happy with bronze.”

After 16 years away from the sport she loves, Walters says she’ll be back next year.

“Fencing’s my passion, my love. As long as I’m walking, I’ll be fencing!” she laughed.

Earlier in the day, Hilgers also defeated first-time team member Suzanne Brown-Marx (Portland, Ore.), 9-5, in the table of 16. Brown-Marx finished her first Veteran Worlds in 13th place.

Michelle Verhave (Purdys, N.Y.), a 2010 Veteran World bronze medalist, missed her chance at a return to the podium this year after a loss in the table of 16 to Jenny Bonney-Millett (AUS). Although Verhave led the bout, 4-3, Bonney-Millett forced the bout into overtime when she scored on Verhave in the final minute. In overtime, the Australian scored first to win the bout, 5-4, and Verhave finished 11th overall.

In the +70 men’s saber, John Terninko (Nottingham, N.H.) earned the very last spot in the direct elimination table after posting a 1-5 record in the pools, but battled through the table to win a bronze medal at his first Veteran Worlds.

“I had terrible pools, but I’m happy I came out of it in the DE,” Terninko said.

Although Terninko entered the direct elimination table as the 18th seed, he steadily picked off his opponents, beginning with a 10-7 win over Kiyoshi Takeyasu (JPN) in the table of 32.

In the table of 16, Terninko upset Gary Aftandinov – the powerhouse Russian who has earned Veteran World titles in all three weapons – with a 10-8 win.

Terninko edged Franz Hirt (GER), a 1999 Veteran World Champion in foil, by a score of 10-9, in the quarter-finals before falling to two-time Veteran World Champion Wolf Nettingsmeyer (GER), 10-8.

“I was just two touches away from the finals. I’ve been fencing for over 50 years and the fleche is still a part of me and only every once in awhile does it slip out, but, it slipped out today in that last bout,” Terninko said.

A federal magistrate judge, Victor Bianchini (San Diego, Calif.) also made an impressive debut at the Veteran Worlds. Bianchini was seeded fourth out of the pools and finished sixth after a 10-7 loss to Bette Raveling (GER) in the quarter-finals.

Jim Adams (Rockville, Md.) had a first-round bye into the table of 32, but lost his next bout to eventual gold medalist Marvin Fine (CAN), 10-4, to finish 12th.

David Kosow (Gaithersburg, Md.) placed 18th after a 10-3 loss in the table of 32 to Giovanni Abati (ITA).

Both Adams and Kosow will remain in Porec to contest additional events this week. Adams will fence in the +70 epee event on Saturday and both athletes will compete in foil on Sunday.

In the women’s 60-69 epee event, six-time Veteran World medalist Diane Kallus (Round Rock, Texas) struggled in a difficult pool that included both the eventual gold and silver medalist – Marie Chantal Demaille (FRA) and Tanaka Yumiko (JPN). After posting a 2-3 record in the pools, Kallus entered into the direct elimination table with a #20 seed.

The low seed meant she was the only U.S. athlete in the event to compete in the first round, but Kallus easily won her bout against Brigitte Greunke (GER), 10-6.

The win put Kallus into the table of 16 against her teammate Patricia Bedrosian (Malibu, Calif.)

A former Veteran World medalist herself, Bedrosian won five of her six pool bouts to earn a #3 seed. Kallus won the bout, 10-7, but lost in the quarter-finals to Tanaka, 10-8, to finish eighth overall.

Bedrosian placed ninth while Anna Estrada (San Francisco, Calif.) finished 11th after a 10-7 loss in the table of 16 to Marie-Josephe Lepeltier (FRA).

Kay Rubin (Waban, Mass.) also advanced to the table of 32, but lost to Maria Guatimosim (BRA), 10-5, and finished the day in 19th place.

Competition continues on Thursday with the following events being held:

Men’s Veteran 60-69 Foil
Jan Patterson (Seattle, Wash.)
Neal White (Chicago, Ill.)

Ray Sexton III (Round Rock, Texas)
Ronald King (San Diego, Calif.)

Men’s Veteran 50-59 Saber
Joshua Runyan (San Diego, Calif.)
Dmitri Kopylov (Roseland, N.J.)
Will Milne (Redwood City, Calif.)
Ted Smith (Diamond Springs, N.J.)

Women’s Veteran 60-69 Foil
Joanne Stevens (New York City, N.Y.)
Muriel Cawthorn (Rehoboth, Mass.)
Madelon Rosenfeld (New York City, N.Y.)

Patricia Bedrosian (Malibu, Calif.)

Women’s Veteran +70 Epee
Bettie Graham (Washington, D.C.)

Click here to view complete results.

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

Women’s 50-59 Foil
1. Britta Hilgers (GER)
2. Jenette Starks-Faulkner (Middletown, Conn.)
3. Kaoru Amari (JPN)
3. Anne-Marie Walters (Parkland, Fla.)
5. Liudmila Chernova (RUS)
6. Jennifer Morris (GBR)
7. Jenny Bonney-Millett (AUS)
8. Gianna Cirillo (ITA)

11. Michelle Verhave (Purdys, N.Y.)
13. Suzanne Marx-Brown (Portland, Ore.)

Women’s 60-69 Epee
1. Marie Chantal Demaille (FRA)
2. Yumiko Tanaka (JPN)
3. Kate Elvin (GBR)
3. Marja Liisa Tuulikki Someroja (FIN)
5. Liubov Mayorova (RUS)
6. Marie-Josephe Lepeltier (FRA)
7. Brigitte Martin (FRA)
8. Diane Kallus (Round Rock, Texas)

9. Patricia Bedrosian (Malibu, Calif.)
11. Anna Estrada (San Francisco, Calif.)
19. Kay Rubin (Waban, Mass.)

Men’s +70 Saber
1. Marvin Fine (CAN)
2. Wolf Nettingsmeyer (GER)
3. Bette Raveling (GER)
3. John Terninko (Nottingham, N.H.)
5. William Osbaldeston (GBR)
6. Victor Bianchini (San Diego, Calif.)
7. Franz Hirt (GER)
8. Josef Krammer (AUT)

12. Jim Adams (Rockville, Md.)
18. David Kosow (Gaithersburg, Md.)

Tag(s): News  Anne-Marie Walters  Victor Bianchini