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Team USA Qualifies Nine Women for the Table of 64 at the New York Saber World Cup

06/24/2011, 8:26am CDT
By No Author

(New York City, N.Y.) – Nine U.S. women will fence in the table of 64 against the world’s top fencers in front of a home crowd on Saturday at the New York Saber World Cup at the New York Athletic Club.

Three members of Team USA qualified automatically for the table of 64 due to their top-16 rankings in the world.

Two-time Olympic Champion Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.) won this event in 2010 and is the top seed this year as well. Zagunis will face Seira Nakayama (JPN) in the first round on Saturday in a quadrant that also includes Zagunis’s 15-year-old Oregon Fencing Alliance teammate Sage Palmedo (Portland, Ore.) Competing in the table of 64 for just the second time at a senior World Cup, Palmedo won four bouts in the pools and defeated Faizah Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.), 15-12, in the preliminary table of 64.

Faizah’s older sister Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.) is ranked #11 in the world and is in a quadrant with two other top U.S. fencers who she may need to beat in order to pursue her quest for a career first World Cup medal. Muhammad will face Anja Musch (GER) in the first round and could fence 2009 Pan Am medalist Monica Aksamit (Matawan, N.J.) in the table of 32 if Aksamit wins her first bout against Sandra Sassine (CAN). On Friday, Aksamit went 4-2 in the pools and defeated Malgorzata Kozaczuk (POL), 15-11, in the preliminary table of 64.

Coming off a silver medal finish at the Gent World Cup in Belgium two weeks ago, Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.) is the #14 seed in New York. Wozniak would need to win her first bout against Matylda Ostojska (POL) and a second against the winner of Olga Zhovnir (UKR) and Ji-Yeon Kim (KOR) to advance to the table of 16 where Muhammad and Aksamit could await.

Emma Baratta (Somerville, N.J.) won five bouts in the pools to qualify directly to the table of 64 where she will meet Lucia Martin-Portugues (ESP) in the first round. If Baratta wins her opening bout, she will take on the winner of 15-year-old Skyla Powers (Atlanta, Ga.) and Azza Besbes (TUN). Powers, a member of the 2011 Cadet and Junior World Team, won four pool bouts and picked up two more wins against Laura Hunter-Thomas (GBR), 15-9, and Hin Wai Lam (HKG), 15-12.

Daria Schneider (New York City, N.Y.), who earned a bronze in Gent, advanced to the table of 64 after five pool wins and a preliminary table of 64 victory over 2010 Junior World silver medalist Anna Varhelyi (HUN), 15-12. On Saturday, Schneider’s opening bout will be against Vassiliki Vougiouka (GRE) who Schneider defeated during their last bout in Gent.

Kamali Thompson (Teaneck, N.J.) will meet two-time Senior World medalist Sophia Velikaia (RUS) in the first round on Saturday. In just her second World Cup appearance, Thompson had a difficult round in the pools where she won one of six bouts, but defeated Angela Bilardi (GBR), 15-9, and Alisha Gomez (Wayne, N.J.), 15-3, to qualify for the table of 64.

The women’s saber table of 64 begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday. Medal bouts will be contested at approximately 7 p.m.

Results for U.S. fencers who did not advance to the table of 64 are as follows:

69. Alisha Gomez (Wayne, N.J.)
76. Faizah Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.)
84. Tiki Kastor (New York City, N.Y.)
91. Claudia Kulmacz (Upper Saddle River, N.J.)
94. Samantha Roberts (Upper Saddle River, N.J.)
104. Erica Zhao (Plano, Texas)
108. Lian Osier (Battle Ground, Wash.)
109. Francesca Russo (Wayne, N.J.)
112. Nicole Glon (State College, Pa.)
114. Stella Shifrin (Brooklyn, N.J.)
118. Margaret McDonald (Atlanta, Ga.)
120. Lena Johnson (Peachtree City, Ga.)
124. Hareem Ahmad (New York City, N.Y.)
126. Aziza Hassan (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
133. Celina Merza (Wayne, N.J.)
135. Aleksandra Sakowicz (Linden, N.J.)
136. Sarah Gruman (Hermosa Beach, Calif.)
137. Anastasia Pinseschi (Los Angeles, Calif.)
140. Lauren Phillips (Livingston, N.J.)
142. Laura Decker (Bridgewater, N.J.)
145. Annabel Sharahy (Wayne, N.J.)

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