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Mariel Zagunis Defeats World Medalists to Win Orleans Sabre Grand Prix

02/14/2011, 7:23am CST
By No Author

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.) returned to competition on Saturday for the first time since winning her fourth World Championship in November and began 2011 with a Grand Prix win in Orleans, France.

The two-time Olympic Champion won six straight bouts to extend her gold medal streak to four tournaments, including the World Championships, Pan Ams and New York World Cup in 2010.

The top-ranked sabre fencer in the world, Zagunis defeated Dina Galiakbarova (RUS), 15-4, in the round of 64.  Zagunis won her next two bouts against Chrystall Nicoll (GBR), 15-11, and 2007 World Championship medalist Bogna Jozwiak (POL), 15-7, to advance to the quarter-finals.

Zagunis had a close bout against Julia Gavrilova (RUS) before earning the win by a score of 15-12, but she had no difficulties in winning her semifinal against two-time World Championship medalist Sophia Valikaia (RUS), 15-5.

Fencing in front of a crowd of 5,000 in the finals, Zagunis won her last bout, 15-4, against Cecilia Berder (FRA) who captured the day’s greatest upset when she won her second-round bout against two-time World silver medalist Olga Kharlan (UKR).

Also representing Team USA, Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J. ) defeated Loretta Gulotta (ITA), 15-11, in the round of 64, but was edged out in the next bout by Irena Wieckowska (POL), 15-13, to place 19th overall.

Three other U.S. athletes also placed in the top 64, including Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J. ) who placed 41st, Celina Merza (Wayne, N.J.) who placed 48th and Daria Schneider (Brookline, Mass.) who finished 61st.

The Orleans Grand Prix was just one of three events in which U.S. fencers competed over the weekend.

Both men’s and women’s epee teams competed in Doha, Qatar at an event that included a women’s world cup and a men’s grand prix.

Competing on Friday and Saturday, the U.S. men earned two top-16 finishes with two more athletes placing in the top-64.

Fencing in a field of 135, Weston Kelsey (Colorado Springs, Colo.) placed 10th and Jimmy Moody (Colorado Springs, Colo.) finished 14th.

After advancing to the round of 64, Kelsey defeated Dmitryi Gryaznov (KAZ), 15-10, and Keisuke Sakamoto (JPN), 15-7.  With one win needed left to qualify for the medal rounds, Kelsey was eliminated after a loss to 2008 European Champion Geza Imre (HUN) who went on to win the gold.

Moody won the round of 64, defeating Christoph Kneip (GER), 15-14 and earned another win against Max Heinzer (SUI), 15-11, before falling to 2010 World Championships bronze medalist Jean-Michel Lucenay (FRA).

Soren Thompson (San Diego, Calif.) and Adam Rodney (Queens, N.Y.) placed 39th and 48th, respectively.

Maya Lawrence (Teaneck, N.J.) earned the top finish for the U.S. women in Doha on Sunday when she placed 30th.  Lawrence upset 2004 Olympic silver medalist Laura Flessel-Colovic (FRA) in the round of 64, 13-11, but lost her next bout to two-time European Championships medalist Anna Sikova (RUS), 15-10.

Sisters Kelley and Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) placed 57th and 58th, respectively.

The women also competed in a team event on Monday in which the Hurleys joined with Lauren Willock (Astoria, N.Y.) and Lindsay Campbell (Brooklyn, N.Y.) to place seventh.

Eleven U.S. women’s foil fencers competed at the Reinhold-Wurth Cup in Tauberbischofsheim, Germany on Friday and Saturday.

Five members of Team USA placed in the top 64.  Ambika Singh (Skillman, N.J.) finished 38th, just ahead of Lee Kiefer (Versailles, Ky.) who finished 39th. Doris Willette (Lafayette, Calif.) finished 44th while Margaret Lu (Greenwich, Conn.) and Mona Shaito (Garland, Texas) placed 49th and 55th, respectively.

On Sunday, Kiefer, Lu, Willette and Nicole Ross (New York City, N.Y.) placed seventh in the team competition.

Top eight and U.S. results for each event are as follows:

Orleans World Cup (Women’s Sabre)
1. Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.)
2. Cecilia Berder (FRA)
3. Ekaterina Diatchenko (RUS)
3. Sophia Velikaia (RUS)
5. Ilaria Bianco (ITA)
6. Aleksandra Socha (POL)
7. Julia Gavrilova (RUS)
8. Reka Benko (HUN)

41. Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.)
48. Celina Merza (Wayne, N.J.)
61. Daria Schneider (Brookline, Mass.)
71. Emma Baratta (Somerville, N.J.)
75. Sage Palmedo (Portland, Ore.)
92. Aziza Hassan (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

Reinhold-Wurth-Cup (Women’s Foil)
1. Elisa Di Francisca (ITA)
2. Inna Deriglazova (RUS)
3. Ilaria Salvatori (ITA)
3. Eugyenia Lamonova (RUS)
5. Hee-Sook Jeon (KOR)
6. Larisa Korobeinikova (RUS)
7. Aida Mohamed (HUN)
8. Anna Rybicka (POL)

38. Ambika Singh (Skillman, N.J.)
39. Lee Kiefer (Versailles, Ky.)
44. Doris Willette (Lafayette, Calif.)
49. Margaret Lu (Greenwich, Conn.)
55. Mona Shaito (Garland, Texas)
69. Samantha Nemecek (Alto, Mich.)
70. Emily Cross (New York City, N.Y.)
78. Nicole Ross (New York City, N.Y.)
88. Luona Wang (Birmingham, Ala.)
89. Adrienne Nott (Honeoye Falls, N.Y.)
119. Madison Zeiss (Los Angeles, Calif.)

Reinhold-Wurth-Cup (Women’s Team Foil)
1. Russia
2. Italy
3. Poland
4. Korea
5. Germany
6. Hungary
7. USA
8. France

Doha World Cup (Women’s Epee)
1. Anna Sivkova (RUS)
2. Rossella Fiamingo (ITA)
3. Johanna Bergdahl (SWE)
3. Yana Shemyakina (UKR)
5. Emese Szasz (HUN)
6. Maureen Nisima (FRA)
7. Yujie Sun (CHN)
8. Malgorzata Stroka (POL)

30. Maya Lawrence (Teaneck, N.J.)
57. Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas)
58. Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas)
69. Lindsay Campbell (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
75. Natalie Vie (Phoenix, Ariz.)
87. Danielle Henderson (Piscataway, N.J.)
92. Francesca Bassa (Houston, Texas)
101. Holley Buechel (New York City, N.Y.)
102. Lauren Willock (Astoria, N.Y.)
107. Victoria Mo (Irvine, Calif.)
132. Susannah Scanlan (Princeton, N.J.)

Doha World Cup (Women’s Team Epee)
1. China
2. Poland
3. Hungary
4. Italy
5. Ukraine
6. France
7. USA
8. Germany

Doha Grand Prix (Men’s Epee)
1. Geza Imre (HUN)
2. Francesco Martinelli (ITA)
3. Ruben Limardo (VEN)
3. Fabian Kauter (SUI)
5. Joerg Fiedler (GER)
6. Gabor Boczko (HUN)
7. Jean-Michel Lucenay (FRA)
8. Paolo Pizzo (ITA)

10. Weston Kelsey (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
14. Jimmy Moody (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
39. Soren Thompson (San Diego, Calif.)
48. Adam Rodney (Queens, N.Y.)
72. Tommi Hurme (San Antonio, Texas)
89. Benjamin Bratton (New York City, N.Y.)
115. Dwight Smith (Elmont, N.Y.)
116. Nathaniel Burke (Orangevale, Calif.)

For more information, contact Nicole Jomantas, USA Fencing Manager of Communications, at

About U.S. Fencing Association:

The United States Fencing Association (USFA) is the recognized NGB for the sport of fencing in the United States. The USFA was founded in 1891 as the Amateur Fencers League of America (AFLA) by a group of New York fencers seeking independence from the Amateur Athletic Union. The AFLA changed its name to the United States Fencing Association in 1981. The USFA is affiliated with the Féderation Internationale d'Escrime (FIE), the international federation for fencing founded in Paris in 1913. The USFA was incorporated as a non-profit corporation in Pennsylvania in 1964 and in Colorado in 1993 in compliance with the Amateur Sports Act and opened its national office at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. in August of 1982. For more visit, or


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