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Junior Olympics Day 2 Results

02/20/2011, 8:40am CST
By No Author

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Sixteen-year-old Mona Shaito (Garland, Texas) has travelled around the world in her pursuit of becoming one of the top junior foil fencers on the international scene, but on Saturday she had a rare occurrence – the opportunity to win gold just 20 minutes from home.

Shaito successfully defended her 2010 Junior Olympic title in the U17 cadet division on Saturday as she won 13 bouts to earn the gold medal in front of friends and family at the Dallas Convention Center.

“I’ve been working hard and I feel like it paid off in this tournament,” said Shaito who defeated Sara Taffel (New York City, N.Y.), 15-12, in the final. “It’s different because it’s really hard to set your mentality when you’re not in a hotel like I’m used to being in. You’re sleeping in your own house and then you have to wake up and go to a tournament, but it’s good.  I like it.  I live like 20 minutes away, so it’s really great being able to go home after this.” 

A seventh-place finisher at the 2010 Cadet World Championships, Shaito also will compete on Monday in the U20 junior division as she looks to secure her slot at the 2011 Junior and Cadet Worlds in Jordan next month.

In the junior women’s saber division, Desirae Major (Olathe, Kans.) burst into tears of joy not once, but twice when the 17-year-old won the Junior Olympic finals for the first time.

After earning five wins in the pools and four more to advance to the semifinals, Major fought a long battle with Erica Zhao (Plano, Texas) in front of Zhao’s hometown crowd before winning the bout, 15-13.

In the finals, Major took a 5-1 lead in the final against Francesca Russo (Wayne, N.J.), but by the break Russo had nearly closed the gap to a one-point spread (8-7).

Major said her coach, Igor Stefanic (Culver, Ind.), gave her some critical advice before the second half of the bout.

“Her attack was working really well and he told me ‘don’t let her attack you. You’ve gotta put the pressure on her.  You’ve gotta let her make the mistakes.’  So I followed his advice and didn’t let her attack me all that often and I attacked her instead and it worked out,” Major said.

Major increased her lead to 14-11 and led out both a scream and tears when she scored the final touch to win the bout, but seconds later the referees convened to review the video.

“I started realizing that they were probably going to call it simultaneous [touch] because the director who was looking at the screen was saying ‘they both came together at the same time’ so halfway through that waiting period I realized I’m going to have to do this again and I need to pull myself together and focus again and make sure I don’t lose it now because that could’ve been a huge change in momentum,” Major said.

During the next exchange, Russo came back to win another point to set the score at 12-14, but Major earned the next point to win the bout, 15-12 – and cried for the second time while being hugged by more than a dozen friends, teammates and fellow competitors.

“I really couldn’t believe I’d finally done it.  It’s been years since I’ve won a competition and this year I got two second places [at the North American B and C Cups] and now it finally happened.  It finally came true,” said Major who has been fencing since she saw a sword fighting movie at age 5.  “It’s amazing.  I don’t know how to describe it really.  Mindblowing.”

In the men’s U20 epee, Peregrine Badger (Providence, R.I.) won the gold medal – his first at a Junior Olympic event.  Badger, who dropped only one bout in the pools, won six regulation matches to advance to the finals against Raymond Schorr (Los Angeles, Calif.)

Schorr and Badger played a tactical game in which Badger slowly built a lead of 14-10.  In the final 30 seconds, however, Schorr made an amazing comeback and tied the score, 14-14.

“My coach and I had a plan and it worked for three touches and then it didn’t work for like three touches and I kept doing it and was like ‘It’ll work this time!’ and then it didn’t and ‘It’ll work this time!’ and it didn’t,” Badger laughed.

With the score tied after nine minutes, the referee flipped a coin and Badger was awarded preference, meaning that if Schorr didn’t score in the next minute, Badger would be awarded the match.

“The last four touches, the pressure was all on him to get the points and with the coin toss, that kept the situation the same because the pressure was still on him to get points,” Badger said.  “When the break hit I turned back to my coach and he was like ‘Do it!’ and I was like ‘It’s not gonna work, ok?’ and he said ‘Ok, just do something new then.”

Abandoning his strategy paid off for Badger who scored the next touch to win the bout.

“I stepped in a little and he didn’t react and I stepped in again and he didn’t react and I stepped in really far and that’s when I hit him,” Badger said.

The win marks the first Junior Olympic gold for Badger.   

“I did pretty well today.  Mostly I held it together for the final and focused on fencing and not the results and then I pulled it together at the end which was awesome,” he said. 

In the junior men’s team foil event, the Los Angeles International Fencing Club defeated the team from the Northwest Fencing Center to win gold, giving the LAIFC its second team title in as many days after its squad won the junior men’s team epee tournament on Friday.

The two teams battled back and forth throughout the beginning of the bout with Northwest Fencing taking the lead, 28-30.

During the final exchanges, however, the LAIC Team of Han Min Lee (Irvine, Calif.), Aaron Ahn (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Danny Nguyen (Los Angeles, Calif.) made a comeback to win the bout, 45-37 against the Northwest Fencing Center team of Nathaniel Tilp (Sherwood, Ore.), Gregory Mitberg (Beaverton, Ore.), Christopher Colley (Portland, Ore.) and Redford New Forest Grove, Ore.).

The bronze medal bout was a battle of the east coast teams with the New Jersey Composite team defeating the Rochester Fencing Club.

New Jersey Composite teammates Jan Philip Macezek (Marlboro, N.J.), John W. Vaiani (Belmar, N.J.), Drew Johnson (Hopkinton, Mass.) and Thomas Hearne (Holmdel, N.J.) won the bout, 45-33 over the Rochester Fencing Club Team of Spenser Boyd (Rochester, N.Y.), Evan Lustick (Canandaigua, N.Y.), Rod Shayesteh (Victor, N.Y.) and Connor Greer (Rochester, N.Y.)

Competition continues on Sunday with the following schedule:

8:30 a.m.
Men’s U17 Saber
Women’s U20 Epee
Women’s U20 Team Foil

1 p.m.
Men’s U20 Foil 

Click here to view full results.  Top eight results for each division are as follows:

Men’s U20 Foil Team Competition
1. Los Angeles International Fencing Club
2. Northwest Fencing Center
3. NJ Composite
4. Rochester Fencing Club
5. Rain City Fencing Center
6. Boston Fencing Club
7. San Francisco Fencing Club
8. Denver Fencing Center

Women’s Junior U20 Saber
1. Desirae Major (Olathe, Kans.)
2. Francesca Russo (Wayne, N.J.)
3. Lena Johnson (Peachtree, Ga.)
3. Erica Zhao (Plano, Texas)
5. Anastasia Pineschi (Los Angeles, Calif.)
6. Johanna Thill (Chanhassen, Minn.)
7. Alisha Gomez (Wayne, N.J.)
8. Alexa Antipas (Stony Brook, N.Y.)

Women’s Cadet U17 Foil
1. Mona Shaito (Garland, Texas)
2. Sara Taffel (New York City, N.Y.)
3. Nicole McKee (Valley Stream, N.Y.)
3. Jennifer Yamin (Allendale, N.J.)
5. Kaila Budofsky (New York City, N.Y.)
6. Eliza Klyce (San Francisco, Calif.)
7. Samantha Lee (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.)
8. MW McElwee (San Francisco, Calif.)

Men’s Junior U20 Epee
1. Peregrine Badger (Providence, R.I.)
2. Raymond Schorr (Los Angeles, Calif.)
3. Logan Crosby Koestner (Colleyville, Texas)
3. Alexander Eldeib (Burke, Va.)
5. San Antonio, Texas
6. Joseph Wiley (Houston, Texas)
7. Michael Rossi (White Plains, N.Y.)
8. Michael Raynis (Chatsworth, Calif.)

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