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Lee Kiefer Wins Fourth Individual Medal at Cadet World Championships, Pak and Dubrovich Place in Top Eight

03/29/2011, 8:30am CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

(Amman, Jordan) –Tuesday evening was a familiar scene for 16-year-old Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.)

Kiefer again found herself in the foil final after a day of dominating the Cadet World Championships for athletes ages 17 and under in Amman, Jordan – a year after winning the title in 2010.

Even her opponent was the same as last year – Camilla Mancini (ITA).

A three-time medalist at the Cadet Worlds who earned bronze as a 13-year-old in 2008 and a silver in 2009, Kiefer qualified for the table of 64 after winning five straight bouts in the pools. After a first-round bye, Kiefer didn’t give up more than six touches to any opponent during the next three bouts, reeling off wins against Noha Wasfy (EGY), 15-1 and Karen Weiss (GER), 15-6 to advance to the semifinals against Evgenia Nebieridze (RUS) whom she defeated, 15-5.

The Russian had rapidly become a familiar opponent for Team USA as she defeated Margaret Lu (Greewich, Conn.), 15-11, in the table of 16 and Jacqueline Dubrovich (Riverdale, N.J.), 11-10 in overtime, in the table of eight.

Fighting in the gold medal bout, Kiefer trailed by four touches against Mancini, but fought her way back to tie the score 10-10. Mancini hit her stride, however, and made four unanswered touches to take the lead, 14-10.

Kiefer scored once more to close the gap to 14-11, but Mancini continued to be the aggressor and scored the last touch to win the bout, 15-11.

“She’s definitely improved a lot since last year, but I just didn’t fence well,” said Kiefer who won their last two match-ups at both the 2010 Cadet Worlds as well as the 2010 Lyon Junior World Cup.

Kiefer’s silver medal is her fourth individual podium finish at the Cadet Worlds, but just her first of three chances to win gold during the next week.

On Friday, she will return to the strip to compete at the Junior World Championships (ages 20 and under) in the individual foil event and on Monday Kiefer will compete in the junior team division.

“My goal has always been to win all of these events and that’s still true,” Kiefer said.

Two of Kiefer’s junior teammates also placed in the top-16 on Tuesday.

A month ago, 16-year-old Dubrovich qualified for her first Cadet World Team with a gold medal win at the USA Fencing Junior Olympic Championships and was literally jumping for joy at the news that she had made the team.

But while Dubrovich may have come to Jordan as a relative unknown to many of her foreign opponents, she soon blazed through the pools, winning five straight bouts and earning a #2 seed in the table of 64.

Dubrovich had a bye in the table of 64 before winning her next two bouts against Yu Gong (CHN), 15-5, and Alanna Goldie (CAN), 15-6.

In the quarter-finals, Dubrovich led Nebieridze, 10-7, but the Russian scored three touches to tie the match at the end of the third period.

During the one minute overtime period, Nebieridze was given priority which put Dubrovich on the offensive.

It was Nebieridze who scored, however, to win the bout 11-10 while Dubrovich placed sixth.

“I feel really good. It was a difficult bout that I ended up losing, but it was one touch in priority and obviously sixth place is very good, but it was hard,” Dubrovich said.

Prior to the quarters, Dubrovich watched Nebieridze’s bout with teammate Lu.

“Fencers always watch opponents to study them and figure out how to win the bout, so I watched her, but it’s a little different becomes Margaret’s a lefty and she’s a lot smaller than me, so the strategy’s different,” Dubrovich said. “But we’ve also fenced with the Russian before, so it’s a little bit different there too.”

Lu advanced to the table of 16 for the third time after placing 16th in 2010 and 12th in 2009.

Just days after placing in the top-32 at the Budapest World Cup in Hungary on Saturday, Lu took to the strip again and began her day with five wins and one loss in the pools to enter the table of 64 as the #7 seed – putting all three Americans on the same side of the bracket.

Lu won her first bout against Geiglys Mendoza (VEN), 3-0 before falling to Nebierdze, 15-11, in the table of 16 to place ninth in the division.

In the men’s saber, Peter Pak (Roslyn, N.Y.) struggled in the pools, winning three bouts and losing two, but Pak won his opening bout against Nicolai Zaporojcenco (MDA), 15-11.

Pak won his next two bouts by margins of 15-8, defeating Pancho Paskov (BUL), 15-8, and Artesi Gianfranco (GBR).

In the quarter-finals, however, Pak lost a heartbreaker to 2010 Cadet World medalist Leonardo Affede (ITA). After being down, 11-14, Pak tied the bout at 14, but Affede scored the final touch.

“On that last touch, I did something risky and probably shouldn’t have gone backwards, but overall I think I fenced smart and I think I did good actions,” Pak said. “In the beginning I was a little nervous with all the fancy strips and the wireless and stuff, but I just told myself that it’s just like any other World Cup.”

Earlier in the day, Geoffrey Loss (Orange Coast, Calif.) went undefeated in the pools, including a win over Affede.

“Daniel was trying to get me going before the pools because we had a delay and he said ‘Geoffrey, time to kick some butt,’ so I went in and was like 3-0 down and won it 5-4 and I was like ‘How was that?’ and he just said ‘Now do it five more times!” Loss laughed.

But, indeed, he continued his winning streak to earn six bout victories in the pools and table of 64 with a bye into the table of 32 where he faced Hilmar Jonsson (ISL).

“I was weirdly nervous about the bout with Iceland because he was doing all these crazy parries in the bout before and I was starting to get cold in the back room and then all of a sudden I was up 8-2 and before I realized it I had beaten him,” Loss said.

In the second period, Jonsson earned four more touches after the break.

“I’ve definitely had bouts in my life where I’ve been up that much and I’ve given the bout away and then he came back at the start of the second period strong and I just kept thinking ‘Don’t give this bout away!’” Loss said.

The first-time Cadet World Team member kept his head together to finish the bout, 15-6 and advance to the table of 16 where he lost to eventual bronze medalist Mikheil Mardaleishvili (GEO), 15-11, to place ninth.

Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass.) finished the pools, 4-1, to qualify for the table of 64. After an opening bye, Dershwitz defeated Jaime Gonzalez Quintana (ESP), a fencer he defeated in the pools as well, 15-10.

Dershwitz came a touch away from the quarter-finals when he lost his next bout to Yannick Oberkirch (GER), 15-14 in the table of 16 to place 12th.

“I did well in the pools, but when I got to the DEs I kind of choked,” he said. “I’d fenced him before at a Junior World Cup, but this time I just didn’t fence well.”

Dershwitz has another year of eligibility as a cadet and hopes to return to the Worlds in 2012.

“I was kind of nervous in the beginning, but I think now that I’ve been here, next year I’ll be a lot more calm,” he said.

Competition continues on Wednesday with the following athletes taking the strip:

Cadet Women’s Saber
Skyla Powers (Atlanta, Ga.)
Francesca Russo (Wayne, N.J.)
Margaret McDonald (Atlanta, Ga.)

Cadet Men’s Epee
Alexander Eldeib (Burke, Va.)
Raymond Schorr (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Brian Ro (Scarsdale, N.Y.)

Top-eight and U.S. results are as follows:

Cadet Women’s Foil
1. Camilla Mancini (ITA)
2. Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.)
3. Martina Sinigalia (ITA)
3. Evgenia Nebieridze (RUS)
5. Francesca Palumbo (ITA)
6. Jacqueline Dubrovich (Riverdale, N.J.)
7. Szonja Szalai (HUN)
8. Fruzsina Golya (HUN)

9. Margaret Lu (Greenwich, Conn.)

Cadet Men’s Saber
1. Ho-Jin Chung (KOR)
2. Luca Curatoli (ITA)
3. Mikheil Mardaleishvili (GEO)
3. Leonardo Affede (ITA)
5. Oleksiy Statsenko (UKR)
6. Peter Pak (Roslyn, N.Y.)
7. Yannick Oberkirch (GER)
8. Martin Singer (HUN)

9. Geoffrey Loss (Laguna Beach, Calif.)
12. Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass.)

Tag(s): News  Jackie Dubrovich  Lee Kiefer