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Three Times A Charm for Olympic Champion Zagunis

02/17/2010, 1:26am CST
By No Author

Three Times A Charm for Olympic Champion Zagunis

By Anthony Bartkowski

Four medals, three weeks, two gold medals and still the world number-one women's sabre athlete is the best way to wrap up Mariel Zagunis' (Beaverton, Ore.) journey over the last month. The 24-year-old, who has been traveling east from Great Britain to Russia since late January, climbed onto the medal stand for the third consecutive week at the Fencing World Cup in Moscow, Russia for women's sabre, on Feb. 14.

The two-time Olympic champ and reigning world champion breezed through the preliminaries by knocking off Italy's Alexxandra Lucchino, 15-5; Russia's Anna Illarionova, 15-6; and France's Solenne Mary, 15-8 before reaching the quarter finals.

Zagunis narrowly edged France's Leonore Perrus, 15-14 to advance to the semifinals where Zagunis dropped Ekaterina Diatchenko of Russia, 15-9. Much like last week's championship match, Zagunis had to settle for the silver medal after dropping a 15-10 decision to China's Yingying Bao.

Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.) was the only other American to advance to the quarter finals with Zagunis. Wozniak defeated Yulia Zhivitsa (Kazakhstan) 15-9; Matyida Ostojska (Poland) 15-14; and Ilaria Bianco (Italy) 15-6, to advance to the round of eight. In the quarters, Wozniak was out touched by Russia's Sophia Velikaia, 15-6, which placed her seventh.

Also competing in women's sabre were: Daria Schneider (Berkley, Calif.) in 19th; Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.) in 27th; and Emily Jacobson (Dunwoody, Ga.) in 60th.

Zagunis, Schneider, Wozniak and Jacobson also competed in the women's sabre team event in Moscow. Team USA, who was seeded fifth, was defeated in the opening round by France, 45-39. The four fencers were able to re-group for a fifth-place finish by defeating Korea 45-33, and Poland, 45-34.

Among the other U.S. teams overseas this past weekend was 2008 Olympic silver medalist Tim Morehouse (New York), who returned to the international scene at the Moscow World Cup in men's sabre and finished 11th. He opened with a 15-9 victory over Ukraine's Anton Kuksa. In the second round, Morehouse outscored Poland's Marcin Koniusz, 15-8, before being upended by Italy's Marco Tricarico, who advanced into the quarterfinals.

Also competing with Morehouse were: James Williams (New York) in 34th; Daryl Homer (Bronx, NY) in 38th; Ben Igoe (Staten Island, NY) in 51st; Jeff Spear (Wynantskill, N.Y.) in 53rd; Mihail Etropolski (West Hempstead, NY) in 64th; and Andrew Fischl (Huntington, NY) in 111th.

The men's U.S. sabre team faced a tough set of opponents and rallied in a 45-44 victory over Poland for 11th overall. Team USA was defeated by Germany, 45-38, in the opening round, and lost 45-30 to Turkey. Team USA was lead by Morehouse, Williams, Igoe, and Homer.

Eight U.S. fencers took their weapons abroad to the Barcelona Ciudad in Spain for the senior women's epee event on Feb. 13. Leading the charge was Lauren Willock (Astoria, NY) with a 15th-place finish. She was closely followed by Lindsay Campbell (Wilmington, Del.) in 23rd. Also placing were Maya Lawrence (Teaneck, NJ) in 55th; Susannah Scanlan (Princeton, NJ) in 60th; Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) in 69th; Holly Buechel (New York) 78th; and Erica Korb (San Francisco) in 84th.

At the Salzbourg, Austria World Cup for women's foil, Ambika Singh (New Brunswick, N.J.) outscored Hungary's Krisztina Berta, 15-10, before dropping a second-round bout to Serena Teo (Italy), 15-7. Singh finished 20th overall. Kylei McGill (Forest Hills, NY) placed 56th and Kathleen Reckling (White Plains, NY) finished 67th.

Skyla Powers (Decatur, GA) finished 21st at the Dourdan, France Coupe de la Ville in the junior girl's foil division. Margaret McDonald (Atlanta, GA) finished 39th overall, while Samantha Roberts (Upper Saddle River, NJ) placed 56th.

At the men's epee Glaive de Taillin in Estonia, Dylan Bethel (San Francisco) placed 135th.



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