skip navigation

Race Imboden Wins Men’s Foil at Division I Nationals in Portland

04/19/2011, 12:33pm CDT
By No Author

(Portland, Ore.) – Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.) gave himself a belated birthday gift on Monday when he made his first National Championships medal a gold one at the USA Fencing Division I National Championships in Portland.

A day after turning 18 and just over a week after winning the team title at the Junior World Championships in Jordan, Imboden upset Junior and Senior World medalists en route to winning the gold.

Although Imboden was the #12 seed coming into the tournament, he came out of the pool rounds with a perfect record which gave the 2010 Cadet World medalist a first-round bye and a #2 seed in the direct elimination table.

Imboden won his next two bouts quickly as he defeated Sherif Farrag (Bayonne, N.J.), 15-7, and Brendan Meyers (New York City, N.Y.), 15-8, to advance to the quarter-finals.

Imboden’s next bout was against Ariel DeSmet (Troutsdale, Ore.) who won the NCAA Championships in March as a freshman at Notre Dame.

At the end of a close bout, Imboden took the lead, 13-11 and only gave up one more touch before winning the bout, 15-12. In addition to competing against each other often in the junior ranks, Imboden and DeSmet will be teammates at Notre Dame in the fall.

“Last time I fenced him he smoked me both times, but I did what I needed to do and it was a clean, tight bout,” Imboden said. “He’s a great fencer, though, and I didn’t expect anything less.”

Imboden’s win meant he would fence the winner of a quarter-final bout being held on the next strip between Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) and Miles Chamley-Watson (Philadelphia, Pa.)

Imboden and Massialas were teammates in Jordan where Massialas won gold with Team USA as well as an individual silver in the junior division and a second gold in the cadet championships. Although 16-year-old Massialas is the reigning National Champion, Chamley-Watson was the favorite going into the bout as the #3-ranked fencer in the world and a top-five finisher at the 2010 Senior World Championships.

As expected, the two exchanged the lead multiple times during the hotly contested bout. With the score tied at 11, Massialas earned the next two touches to take the lead. Chamley-Watson scored again to close the gap to a single point and nearly tied the bout at 13, but Massialas scored twice more to win the bout, 15-12.

In the semifinals, Massialas took the early lead, 4-2, but Imboden hit his stride quickly and scored 10 straight touches to take a 12-4 lead. Although Massialas scored twice more before the break, Imboden held onto a comfortable score of 13-6.

Following the break, Imboden gave up only three more touches before winning the bout, 15-9.

“I just tried to stay calm and didn’t want to let my emotions get in the way. I knew what I was doing from the get go was right. I missed a couple touches in the beginning, but I kept what I was doing and didn’t stray from the things I practiced and it paid off,” Imboden said.  

Imboden advanced to the final against Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.) – the 2010 World bronze medalist in the foil.

The scene was a familiar one for Imboden who competed against Meinhardt the last time he was in a Division I final at the North American Cup in Cincinnati in October where Meinhardt won the bout, 15-11.

“He was just stronger and faster than me at that point so going into this one I knew what I was getting into and just stuck to my game plan,” Imboden said.

Imboden’s final against Meinhardt remained close throughout as the clock wore down and the score was tied at 13.

“It was a crucial moment in the bout and I buckled down and made sure I started my actions quickly and got my point on,” Imboden said.

The gold medal win was not only Imboden’s first podium finish at the Division I National Championships, but it also marked the first time he advanced past the table of 16 at the event.

“Finally achieving the highest level you can in the United States is a great feeling. I always go out there trying to win and today was my day,” Imboden said.

In team competition, the Division I women’s epee event featured an all-New York Athletic Club final as the women competed to bring the second team epee title back to the NYAC after the men’s squad won gold on Saturday.

Both NYAC 1 and NYAC 2 advanced to the gold medal bout and the score was tied at 24 touches for each team by the conclusion of the seventh match between 2010 Junior World Team member Ashley Severson (New York City, N.Y.) and Holly Buechel (New York City, N.Y.)

Beijing Olympian Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) scored nine touches during the next match, however, to the five scores of 2011 Junior World Team member Audrey Abend (New York City, N.Y.) to create a four-point lead of 33-29.

In the final match, three-time Senior World Team member Maya Lawrence (Teaneck, N.J.) scored 12 touches against Lydia Kopecky (New York City, N.Y.) to win the bout for NYAC 1, 45-34.

In the bronze medal bout, the Northwest Fencing Center took the win over the Los Angeles International Fencing Center, 45-27.

Competing in front of a home crowd, the Northwest Fencing Center team included Isabella Barna (Bend, Ore.), Maria Copelan (Portland, Ore.) and Helen Jolley (Portland, Ore.)

The fourth-place LAIFC squad included Tasha Hall (Los Angeles, Calif.), Katie Angen (Santa Monica, Calif.) and Amanda Primes (Northridge, Calif.)

Top eight results are as follows:

Division I Men’s Foil
1. Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
2. Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.)
3. Kurt Getz (Rye, N.Y.)
3. Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.
5. Ariel DeSmet (Troutdale, Ore.)
6. Andras Horanyi (Boulder, Colo.)
7. Miles Chamley-Watson (Philadelphia, Pa.)
8. Stephen Mageras (Darien, Conn.)

Division I Women’s Team Epee
1. NYAC 1
2. NYAC 2
3. Northwest Fencing Center
5. Salle Auriol Seattle

Tag(s): News  Race Imboden