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Junior and Cadet World Medalists Vie for the Podium at the Junior Olympics in Dallas This Weekend

02/16/2011, 5:37am CST
By No Author

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – More than 1,500 of the nation’s top fencers will compete at the Junior Olympic Championships in Dallas, Texas this weekend.

The event will be held at the Dallas Convention Center and will serve as the final qualifier to represent Team USA at the 2011 Cadet and Junior World Championships in Jordan next month.

Athletes will compete in the U20 and U17 divisions in the men’s and women’s foil, epee and saber.  Team events also will be held in the men’s and women’s foil and epee and in the men’s saber.

Among the athletes competing are six returning medalists from the 2010 Junior and Cadet World Championships.

The son of three-time Olympian Greg Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.), Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) is the top men’s foil seed in both the U20 and U17 divisions. In 2009, Alexander became the youngest athlete ever to qualify for a Senior World Team.  Now 16-years-old, the two-time Senior World Team member also is the defending Cadet World Champion and a silver medalist at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in 2010.

Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.), a bronze medalist at the 2010 Cadet Worlds, is the second seed in the junior men’s foil, ahead of third seed David Willette (Lafayette, Calif.) who trains alongside Massialas and won bronze at the 2010 Junior World Championships.

Fresh off a trip to Germany for the Reinhold-Wurth-Cup last weekend, 16-year-old Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.) will enter both the U17 and U20 divisions as the top-seeded woman in the foil competition and the reigning Cadet World Champion.

In the women’s U20 epee, two members of the 2010 Junior World silver medalist team are returning to the Junior Olympics.  Katharine Holmes (Washington, D.C.) is the top seed and Ashley Severson (Franklin Lakes, N.J.) will come in at #4.  Both athletes may be challenged by second and third seeds Anna Van Brummen (Houston, Texas) and Audrey Abend (New York City, N.Y.)

The lone returning member of the 2010 Junior World bronze medal saber team, 19-year-old Evan Prochniak (Hudson, N.H.) is entering his last year of junior eligibility with the goal of returning to the podium in Jordan.

The home of a strong fencing community, this event will include many top local athletes, including 2010 Youth Olympian Mona Shaito (Garland, Texas) who will be competing in both the U20 and U17 foil divisions.  All of Shaito’s five siblings also are fencers, including her older sister, Mai Shaito (Garland, Texas) who also will be competing in the U20 foil.

Erica Zhao (Plano, Texas) is another top area athlete to watch.  Zhao will be vying for her first Cadet World Team berth as the #4 seed in the U17 saber. 

Both Shaito and Zhao have experience competing in front of a hometown crowd as Shaito won the U17 women’s foil title at the North American Cup at the same venue in January and Zhao won a silver medal in the U20 women’s saber division.

Competition schedule is as follows (times are approximate):

Friday, February 18
8:30 a.m.
Men’s U20 Saber
Women’s U17 Epee

1 p.m.
Men’s U17 Foil

3:00 p.m.
Men’s U20 Team Epee

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

Sunday, February 20
8:30 a.m.
Men’s U17 Saber
Women’s U20 Epee
Women’s U20 Team Foil

1 p.m.
Men’s U20 Foil

Monday, February 21
8:30 a.m.
Men’s U17 Epee
Women’s U17 Saber

11 a.m.
Women’s U20 Foil

1 p.m.
Women’s U20 Team Epee

1:30 p.m.
Men’s U20 Team Saber

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