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Bravo, Abend and Streets Win Gold on First Day of Junior Olympic Championships

02/18/2011, 12:00pm CST
By No Author

(Dallas, Texas) – Three first-time champions were crowned on Friday – the opening day of the USA Fencing Junior Olympic Championships at the Dallas Convention Center. 

Sixteen-year-old Kaito Streets (Redwood City, Calif.) entered the U20 saber division as the fifth seed, but won all six of his pool bouts to advance to the main draw.

After five early round wins, Streets found himself in a close semifinal bout against Alexander Ryjik (Alexandria, Va.)  Late in the bout, however, Streets rolled his ankle. 

“[Ryjik] missed his attack and I was about to lunge, but I went off the strip and twisted my ankle,” Streets said.  “It was a minor injury, though, so I was ok.”

As his friends and family cheered him on, Streets shook off the injury and returned to win the bout, 15-14.

In the finals, Streets faced Geoffrey Loss (Orange Coast, Calif.), a 17-year-old who entered the event as a 14th seed and celebrated every touch throughout the day as he made his way to a lifetime best result.

Loss had earned impressive victories in the quarter and semifinals and looked to be on his way to earning a gold medal in the finals when he took a 6-0 lead in the bout.

“I had a plan, but it didn’t function very well, so I had to change it up in the middle of the bout and it worked out,” Streets said.  “I just take it one point at a time.  Even if I’m down 14-7, I’m still gonna fight.”

Streets held Loss to just three more points as he earned the comeback win of the day with a 15-9 victory.

“It’s amazing to win, especially since it’s a junior event and I’m still a cadet,” Streets said.

Streets will return to competition on Sunday when he will attempt to qualify for his first Cadet World Team. 

Audrey Abend (New York City, N.Y.), a two-time medalist at the 2010 Summer Nationals, won the U17 epee division. 

Abend won each of her six pool matches as well as her next four in the main draw to advance to the quarter-finals against Jessica O’Neill-Lyublinksy (Salem, N.Y.) who she edged out, 11-10 in a grueling nine-minute bout. 

“My bout with Jessica O’Neil to get to the four was definitely my hardest match of the day,” Abend said. “I had to keep my focus and concentrate a lot and physically put through and win, so it was really gratifying.”

After a 15-7 semifinal win against Jessie Radanovich (Tollhouse, Calif.), Abend advanced to the final where she trailed Rachael Clark (Boxford, Mass.), 6-9.  Abend battled back from the deficit to win the bout, 15-10.

“I had a problem trying to come back when I was younger to come back when I was losing and to be able to keep it strong to the finish was really great,” said Abend who will return to competition on Sunday in the junior epee division.

After receiving her gold medal, Abend placed the coaches’ medal around the neck of her father, Alexander Abend (New York City, N.Y.) who she thanked for helping her win gold.

“Sometimes it’s hard because you have to come home and eat dinner with him if you’ve had a bad day,” Audrey laughed.  “But, in the end, we work really well together and I’m glad to have him as my coach.”

In the men’s U17 foil, top seed Nobuo Bravo (San Francisco, Calif.) was all business all day as he methodically knocked off his opponents and gave up only nine touches during his six pool matches

In fact, the only opponent who could score more than seven against Bravo during the early rounds was his Massialas Foundation teammate Jarred Gou (Saratoga, Calif.), an up-and-coming 13-year-old who Bravo defeated, 15-11, in the fourth round.

In the finals, Bravo defeated Michael Woo (Wayne, N.J.), 15-9. 

“I was fencing very well today.  I thought I kept my basics very strong and I listened to my coach well, so I’m pretty happy,” Bravo said.  “It was actually really hard, physically, but, because I kept it together, I was able to avoid getting hit a lot.”

Bravo was one of three athletes coached by three-time Olympian Greg Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) to place in the top eight with  Jacob Stein (San Francisco, Calif.) finishing third and Brian Wang (Fremont, Calif.) placing sixth.

“It’s definitely really cool [to stand on the podium with my teammates] and something for us to take back home together,” said Bravo who also will compete in the junior men’s foil on Sunday.

In the junior men’s team epee, the athletes from the Los Angeles International took an early lead in their final match against Hooked on Fencing and never let it go, winning the match, 45-34.  The four-person squad included Rene Gannon-O’Gara (Los Angeles, Calif.), Christopher Mandalian (La Crescenta, Calif.), Maxwell Kleeman (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Izzy Sahagian (Pacific Palisades, Calif.)  The silver medalist Hooked on Fencing Team included Ian Broderick (Hudson, Ohio), Dale Purdy (Ligonier, Pa.), Matt Bogard (Westlake, Ohio) and John McCormick (Hudson, Ohio).

Competing for bronze, the three-member Peter Westbrook Foundation Team trailed the Northern Colorado Fencers by 34-40 when Ayyub Ibrahim (Bronx, N.Y.) took the strip against Adam Campbell-Kruger (Boulder, Colo.)  Bolstered by his teammates who shouted and cheered him on through every point, Ibrahim earned brought the team back to win the bout, 45-43, to secure the bronze with teammates Curtis McDowald (Jamaica, N.Y.) and Charles Clark (Teaneck, N.J.)  Campbell-Kruger and teammates Spencer Amman (Westminster, Colo.), Simon Jones (Louisville, Colo.) and Jourdain Blyth (Englewood, Colo.) placed fourth.

Competition continues on Saturday with the schedule as follows:

Saturday, February 19
8:30 a.m.
Women’s U17 Foil
Women’s U20 Saber

1 p.m.
Men’s U20 Epee

1:30 p.m.
Men’s U20 Team Foil

Top-eight results are as follows:

Junior Men’s Team Epee
1. Los Angeles International Fencing Center
2. Hooked on Fencing
3. Peter Westbrook Foundation
4. Northern Colorado Fencers
5. Alliance Fencing Academy
7. DC Fencers Club
8. Alliance Fencing Academy II

Women’s Cadet Epee
1. Audrey Abend (New York City, N.Y.)
2. Rachael Clark (Boxford, Mass.)
3. Jessie Radanovich (Tollhouse, Calif.)
3. Isabel Ford (Salem, Ore.)
5. Victoria Wines (Mahopac, N.Y.)
6. Jennifer Horowitz (Los Angeles, Calif.
7. Jessica O’Neill-Lyublinsky (Salem, N.Y.)
8. Elizabeth Meyers (Scarsdale, N.Y.)

Men’s Junior Sabre
1. Kaito Streets (Redwood City, Calif.)
2. Geoffrey Loss (Orange Coast, Calif.)
3. Alexander Ryjik (Alexandria, Va.)
3. Rhys Douglas (Apache Junction, Ariz.)
5. Daniel Kim (Upper Saddle River, N.J.)
6. Jason Meng (Dallas, Texas)
7. Steven Yang (Princeton Junction, N.J.)
8. Bartosz Pukal (Evanston, Ill.)

Men’s Cadet Foil
1. Nobuo Bravo (San Francisco, Calif.)
2. Michael Woo (Wayne, N.J.)
3. Jacob Stein (San Francisco, Calif.)
3. Justin Lee (Montville, N.J.)
5. Victor Falkowski (Wappingers Falls, N.Y.)
6. Brian Wang (Fremont, Calif.)
7. Thomas Dudey (Bellaire, Texas)
8. Stephen Speer (Port Hueneme, Calif.)

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