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Team USA to Compete at Pan American Zonal Championships, July 4-9 in Reno

07/03/2011, 9:12am CDT
By No Author

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Twenty-four U.S. athletes will compete in the Pan American Zonal Championships – a 2012 Olympic qualifying event – from July 4-9 at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nev.

Team USA will go head-to-head against athletes from 19 North and South American nations as they compete for Olympic qualification points in all six individual events as well as the team events for women’s epee and foil and men’s foil and saber.  

Among the members of Team USA are nine athletes who earned individual medals at the 2010 Pan American Championships in San Jose, Costa Rica and two defending Pan Am Champions.

Two-time Olympic Champion Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.) won gold in the women’s saber at this event in both 2009 and 2010.

Last year, Zagunis and teammates Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.), Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.) and Daria Schneider (New York City, N.Y.) won the team saber gold over Canada and both Muhammad and Wozniak won individual bronzes. All four athletes are back again this year to extend the U.S. Women’s Saber Team’s streak of having never lost in the finals of the Pan American Championships. On the individual side, Zagunis and Muhammad currently are the top two U.S. women in the Adjusted Olympic Rankings, but all four players are within a handful of points of each other.

Seventeen-year-old Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.) won two Pan Am foil golds in 2010 as she earned both individual and team titles. Two of Kiefer’s 2010 teammates – Doris Willette (Lafayette, Calif.) and Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.) – will be representing Team USA in Reno as well. A replacement athlete for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team, Willette is a reigning 2010 Pan Am bronze medalist.

Three of the four members of the 2010 U.S. Men’s Saber Team that won gold at last year’s event Pan Am Championships are returning to the event in Reno. Reigning team gold medalists Tim Morehouse (New York City, N.Y.), Daryl Homer (New York City, N.Y.) and Ben Igoe (Staten Island, N.Y.) will be joined by James Williams (New York City, N.Y.) who won a silver medal at the 2008 Olympic Games with Morehouse in the team event. Among the team events to watch this week, the U.S. men and Canada will continue their rivalry with whichever team places higher at the Pan Ams moving ahead of the other on the Adjusted Olympic Rankings.

The U.S. Men’s Foil Team also will enter the event as the defending champions with three of the four 2010 team members returning. Miles Chamley-Watson (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) won silver and bronze, respectively, in individual competition last year and 2010 World medalist Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.) placed fifth individually. The trio will be joined by Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.) who won gold in the team event at the Junior Worlds in April with Massialas.

In 2010, the U.S. Men’s Epee Team lost in the semifinals to Canada and won the bronze medal overall. Although, like women’s saber the men’s epee team event will not be contested at the London Games, Team USA is ranked as one of the top teams in the world and the squad of Seth Kelsey (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Cody Mattern (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Soren Thompson (New York City, N.Y.) and Ben Bratton (New York City, N.Y.) is favored to win gold in Reno. Individually, Thompson leads Team USA in the Adjusted Olympic Rankings where he sits as one of the top 14 athletes in the world. Kelsey, who competed at the 2004 Olympic Games with Mattern and Thompson is ranked 15th in the world.

The U.S. Women’s Epee Team also won bronze in 2010 and three of the four team members will be returning to the squad in Reno. Sisters Kelley and Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) won silver and bronze, respectively, in the individual event in 2010 and will be joined by their 2010 teammate Lindsay Campbell (Brooklyn, N.Y.) as well as Maya Lawrence (Tea Neck, N.J.)

Bob Largman (Morristown, N.J.) will be serving as the team leader for Team USA. Francisco Martin (Yonkers, N.Y.) is the chef de mission.

The Team USA athlete list is as follows, including individual medalists from the 2010 event.

Men’s Foil
Miles Chamley-Watson (Philadelphia, Pa.), 2010 Pan Am silver medalist
Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.), 2010 Pan Am bronze medalist
Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.)
Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

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.)

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

Women’s Saber
Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.), 2010 Pan Am Champion
Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.), 2010 Pan Am bronze medalist
Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.), 2010 Pan Am bronze medalist
Daria Schneider (New York City, N.Y.)

Women’s Epee
Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas), 2010 Pan Am silver medalist
Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas), 2010 Pan Am bronze medalist
Maya Lawrence (Tea Neck, N.J.)
Lindsay Campbell (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

The tentative competition schedule for the event is as follows:

Monday, July 4
9 a.m.
Men’s Individual Epee

Women’s Individual Saber

Tuesday, July 5
9 a.m.
Men’s Individual Foil

Women’s Individual Epee

Wednesday, July 6
9 a.m.
Women’s Individual Foil

Men’s Individual Saber

Thursday, July 7
9 a.m.
Men’s Team Epee

Women’s Team Saber

Friday, July 8
9 a.m.
Women’s Team Epee

Men’s Team Foil

Saturday, July 9
9 a.m.
Women’s Team Foil

Men’s Team Saber

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