Willette Also Reaches Podium on First Day of PanAms
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – Day one of the 2010 Pan American Championships in San Jose, Costa Rice is in the books and already Team USA has amassed two medals. Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.) and Doris Willette (Lafayette, Calif.) finished first and tied for third in women’s foil. The 16-year-old Kiefer took down everyone in her path, including a few teammates. She knocked out Nzinga Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.) in the round of 16 and Willette in the semifinals before defeating Canadian Monica Peterson, a fencer ten years older than her, in the final. Willette finished a perfect five for five in pool play en route to a bronze medal. Prescod won three of five in pool play before finishing in 13th place. Ambika Singh (Skillman, N.J.) was not far behind, losing once in pool play and placing 17th.
“Both Lee Kiefer and Doris Willette fenced very well and showcased the strength of USA women’s foil,” said Mike Pederson, National Women’s Foil Coach. “I am proud of the entire team and feel that we have a very bright future.”
The other event taking place on Monday was men’s epee. Two-time Olympian Seth Kelsey (Brush Prairie, Wash.) nearly missed out on the semifinals, finishing in fifth place. Cody Mattern (Tigard, Ore.) placed 9th among fencers, bowing out in the round of 16. Ben Bratton (New York, N.Y.) and Ben Ungar reached the round of 32 before finishing 17th and 31st, respectively.
The Pan American Championships continue through Saturday. The Championships serve as an individual and team qualifying tournament for the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Tuesday’s slate features women’s saber and men’s foil. Two-time Olympic gold medalist Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.) and 2010 Youth Olympian Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) highlight the U.S. fencers competing Tuesday. Up-to-date results can be found at http://fie.ch/.
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 www.usfencing.org, www.facebook.com/usfencing or www.twitter.com/usfencing.