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Kelley Hurley and Race Imboden Win Gold, Team USA Takes Six Medals at Pan Ams

07/06/2011, 2:47am CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

(Reno, Nev.) – Team USA’s success at the Pan American Zonal Championships continued on Tuesday when Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) each won gold at the Pan American Zonal Championships.

At just 18-year-old, Imboden qualified for his first Senior U.S. Team as the fourth-ranked U.S. foil fencer in the men’s foil point rankings, but the 2010 Cadet World medalist said he came to Reno with plans of winning it all and never once appeared fazed by competing in the only Olympic qualifying event in North America.

“I always come in to every competition to win, no matter what level it’s at, and I can only do the best I can and not worry about anything else,” Imboden said.

After doing undefeated in the pools, Imboden began the day with a #3 seed in the tournament – placing him behind top seed 17-year-old Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.), Miles Chamley Watson (Philadelphia, Pa.), the former #2-ranked fencer in the world, and Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.), a 2010 World medalist, were seeded fifth and sixth, respectively.

Imboden’s high seed gave him a bye in the table of 32 and he won his next bout against Anthony Prymack (CAN), 15-9, to advance to the quarter-finals against Chamley-Watson.

Imboden won the bout against Chamley-Watson, the 2010 Senior World Championship fifth-place finisher, 15-11, to advance to the semifinals – and a guaranteed Pan Am medal while Chamley-Watson, the 2010 Pan Am silver medalist, finished sixth.

“He’s beaten me a lot. Last time I fenced him, I think I won, but we’re both in the city and we train together all the time so it’s always a really difficult bout. If it went my way this time, it could go his way next time,” Imboden said.

Massialas, who won gold with Imboden in the team competition at the Junior World Championships in April, also had a bye in the table of 32 and defeated Heitor Shimbo (BRA), 15-5, in the table of 16. In the quarter-finals, Massialas defeated Alexander Simmons (CAN), 15-5, to set up a semifinal against Meinhardt who trains with Massialas at the Massialas Foundation at Halberstadt.

With three U.S. athletes in the semifinals Meinhardt took an early lead against Massialas, 7-4, in the fast-paced bout. By the end of the first three-minute period, Meinhardt still held a lead, but Massialas scored three touches in a row to close the gap to 12-11. After the break, Massialas held his teammate to a single score to win the bout, 15-13.

In the next semifinal, Imboden came out strong and led, 12-4, at the break against Daniel Gomez (MEX). Although Gomez made a successful late run, scoring five touches to one against Imboden, the American won the bout, 15-10, and advanced to the gold medal about against Massialas.

“I know Alex is extremely quick and I was going to have to have my legs under me and be ready,” Imboden said.


Imboden dominated the opening touches of the gold medal bout against Massialas as he took a 4-0 lead at the start of the bout. By the final 20 seconds of the first period, however, Massialas tied the score at eight. With nine seconds left in the period, Imboden earned the final touch and would go on to score the next six straight points to win the bout, 15-8.

“It’s one of those things that my coach [2004 Olympian Jed Dupree] has done and all my idols have done and it’s just one more step towards my ultimate goal of qualifying for the Olympics,” Imboden said.

In the women’s epee division, three U.S. athletes stood on the top of the podium as well and it was 2008 Olympian Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) who earned the #2 seed in the division after an undefeated pool round.

The seeding placed Hurley on the opposite side of the bracket from younger sister Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) who earned two top-16 finishes on the World Cup circuit last month and was one of Team USA’s top hopes for a Pan Am medal as well.

In the table of 32, Kelley defeated Dayana Martinez (VEN) easily, ending the bout 15-1. Kelley’s next win came over Violeta Ramirez Peguero (DOM), 15-8, and would turn out to be her last bout of the day against a foreign competitor as she would advance to the quarter-finals with a 15-4 win over Maya Lawrence (Tea Neck, N.J.) The bout would be the first of three straight between Kelley and her U.S. teammates.

On the other side of the bracket, Courtney also advanced to the medal rounds where she faced Caterin Bravo Aranguez (CHI). Bravo Aranguez proved to be a tough competitor who tied Courtney at six by the end of the first period and gave up few touches during the remainder of the bout. By the end of the second period, however, Courtney led the bout, 13-10, and would go on to close out at 15-11.

In Kelley’s semifinal, three-time Senior World Team member Lindsay Campbell (Brooklyn, N.Y.) came out aggressively and took a 5-2 lead during the first period. In the second period, Kelley tied the bout 11-11, and went on to earn the win, 15-13.

The victory moved Kelley into the finals against Courtney where the Hurleys would battle to earn the family’s first Pan American title.

Two minutes into the bout, Kelley led Courtney, 10-6, and extended the lead to 13-8 by the end of the first period. Kelley held on to her lead to win the bout, 15-12.

“I got second last year, so I really wanted to win it since that’s the only way to get more points than I already had,” Kelley said.

Although the sisters have fenced each other numerous times both domestically and internationally, Kelley said competing against her sister never gets easier.

“When I’m out there I’m thinking that I’m going to try and win it, but I’m not going to make a fool of myself by going crazy and screaming. It’s hard enough fencing her. She’s my family. It’s hard enough fencing her, let alone being angry with each other later,” Kelley said.

The two have competed on five Senior World Teams together and will make a sixth trip to the event this fall. And, in spite of the stress of travel and training, Kelley said that “my sister and I are very close. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Competition continues on Wednesday at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center with the following athletes competing in the men’s saber and women’s foil divisions:

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

Women’s Foil
Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.), 2010 Pan American Champion
Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Doris Willette (Lafayette, Calif.), 2010 Pan American Champion
Nicole Ross (New York City, N.Y.)

Top eight and results for competition on Tuesday are as follows:

Men’s Individual Foil
1. Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
2. Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)
3. Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.

3. Daniel Gomez (MEX)
5. Joao Antonio Souza (BRA)
6. Miles Chamley-Watson (Philadelphia, Pa.)
7. Alexander Simmons (CAN)
8. Fernando Scavsin (BRA)

Women’s Individual Epee
1. Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas)
2. Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas)
3. Lindsay Campbell (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

3. Caterin Bravo Aranguiz (CHI)
5. Ainsley Switzer (CAN)
6. Daria Jorquera Palmer (CAN)
7. Maya Lawrence (Tea Neck, N.J.)
8. Elida Sandra Aguero (ARG)


Tag(s): News  Courtney Hurley  Kelley Hurley  Race Imboden