(Reno, Nev.) – Competing in the first two team events of the Pan American Zonal Championships that count towards Olympic qualification, the U.S. team won gold medals in the men’s foil and women’s epee team competitions on Friday with both victories coming over rival Canada at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center.
In what has become the most successful Pan American Zonal Championships for Team USA in history, the gold medals were the ninth and 10th titles for Team USA this week out of 10 events contested so far.
Following its fifth-place finish at the Havana World Cup last month, Team USA held a 60-point lead in the Olympic Rankings over Canada, but with 64 points on the line for the winning team for each region’s Zonal Championships, the U.S. men knew that a win would help secure their slot at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
“It’s nice to get these points because they’re definitely needed and now we’re just looking forward to World Championships. I honestly think we can get a medal at Worlds. We’ve been fencing well all year and I think we can maintain that in Italy,” said Miles Chamley-Watson (Philadelphia, Pa.) who anchored the team that included Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) and Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.)
After a first-round bye in the seven-team event, Chamley-Watson began the semifinal bout against Mexico with a 5-1 lead that Team USA held onto en route to winning the bout, 45-28.
In the final against Canada, the U.S. Team trailed for the first five bouts with the Canadians leading 20-16.
In the sixth bout, Imboden outscored Anthony Prymack to take a 20-22 lead for Team USA. With the momentum shifted, Imboden, Massialas and Chamley-Watson held onto the lead and won the bout, 45-36.
“The first two rounds weren’t very good, but Race really stepped up. Alex fenced well and I managed to get myself together and after that we started rolling and managed to close out the match,” Chamley-Watson said. “We all fenced well. We all had each other’s backs and got the victory.”
Although the four fencers are rivals in the individual events with Imboden, Massialas and Meinhardt going 1-2-3 at the Pan Ams on Tuesday, the team could be found chatting, joking and holding impromptu bouts with other weapons throughout the week.
“It really helps that we also get along and really enjoy each other’s company and I think that really helps on the strip because the chemistry clicks and we don’t have to try and put on a face because it just naturally happens. I’m really happy with my teammates and we make a strong team together,” Chamley-Watson said.
In the women’s epee competition, Team USA returned to the top of the podium after winning gold in 2009 and bronze in 2010.
With three medalists from the individual competition – Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas / gold), Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas / silver) and Lindsay Campbell (Brooklyn, N.Y. / bronze) – Team USA came into the event as a favorite, but needed wins against Chile and Mexico to advance to the finals.
In the quarter-finals, Kelley Hurley, Campbell and Maya Lawrence (Tea Neck, N.J.) earned the win against Chile, 45-34, and all four team members fenced in the victory over Mexico, 42-34.
Each of the four teammates fenced for gold against Canada as well with Courtney Hurley anchoring Team USA to a 45-31 win.
“Even if we had gotten second, we still would have been ok I think, but it just secures our spot more which is nice because there’s a lot less pressure and we didn’t have to worry about it as much,” Courtney said.
Competition concludes on Saturday with the men’s saber and women’s foil team events.
Athletes scheduled to compete are as follows:
Tim Morehouse (New York City, N.Y.)
James Williams (New York City, N.Y.)
Daryl Homer (New York City, N.Y.)
Jeff Spear (Wyantskill, N.Y.)
Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.)
Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Doris Willette (Lafayette, Calif.)
Nicole Ross (New York City, N.Y.)
Top eight results are as follows:
Men’s Team Foil
Women’s Team Epee
Tag(s): News Archive Courtney Hurley Kelley Hurley Race Imboden Alexander Massialas Gerek Meinhardt Miles Chamley-Watson Latest News