2008 U.S. Olympian Gerek Meinhardt Headlines North American Cup in Kansas City
By Anthony Bartkowski
Over 1,250 fencers will embark upon the Kansas City Convention and Entertainment Center for the second tournament of the 2009-10 North American Cup (NAC) season, which starts Friday and concludes on Monday, Nov. 9. U.S. Olympian Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco), who also competed at the last four Junior World Championships, leads the tournament list of Junior, Cadet and Youth-14 athletes.
Meinhardt, who finished 10th at the Beijing Olympics, will be challenged by No. 2 ranked Alexander Massialas (San Francisco), No. 3 rated David Willette (Lafayette, Calif.) and Zain Shaito (Garland, Texas), who is currently ranked 4th, will fence for the Junior Men's Foil title.
The Junior Men's Foil class at the NAC reads like the future stars of fencing for the United States. Meinhardt's credentials are distinguished with achievements back to 2005 when he started to capture titles. He has seen success at Junior World Cups, Junior and Cadet World Championships to go along with his participation at the 2008 Olympic Games.
Massialas, the youngest athlete to win a Div. 1 Men's Foil title in the United States, garners two Cadet World Cup titles and two cadet national championships. Zain was a member of the first ever U.S. gold-medal winning Men's Foil team at the 2008 Junior World Championships.
Massialas will also compete at the NAC in the Cadet Men's Foil division and be challenged by No. 2 ranked Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.), third-ranked Brian Kaneshige (Maplewood, N.J.) and Jerry Chang (Mountain View, Calif.), who is currently ranked fourth in the country.
The Kansas City NAC event will start at 7 a.m. and conclude at 7 p.m. daily. Admission to the event is free and open to the public. All competition will be held in Halls A and B of the Kansas City Convention and Entertainment Center, located at 301 W. 13th St. in Kansas City, Mo.
2009 Cadet World Championships silver medalist Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.) will be busy in Kansas City as she will compete in both Cadet and Junior Women's Foil divisions. She will be tested in each of the age-group classes by three-time Cadet World Cup medalist Margaret Lu (Greenwich, Conn.).
Epiphany Georges (Brooklyn, N.Y.), a 2009 Junior World Championship team member, will challenge Kiefer and Lu for the Junior Women's Foil title. In the Cadet Women's Foil division, Madison Zeiss (Los Angeles) and Mona Shaito (Garland, Texas), respectively ranked No. 3 and No. 4 in the U.S. Cadet Women's Foil division, will also compete for the Cadet title in Kansas City.
2009 Cadet World Championships team member Katharine Holmes (Washington D.C.) leads the Cadet Women's Epee list of athletes and will be challenged by ranked No. 2-4 stars Ashley Severson (Franklin Lakes, N.J.), Nik Nik Ameli (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Oksana Samorodov (San Antonio, Texas).
Will Spear (Wynantskill, N.Y.) and Alexander Ryjik (Alexandria, Va.), both 2009 Cadet World Championship team members, will vie for the title in the Cadet Men's Sabre division. Also competing in this class will be John Hallsten (Sacramento, Calif.) and Eugene Chung (Olney, Md.) who are ranked No. 3 and No. 4, respectively.
The Junior Men's Epee division will see 2009 Junior World Team members Kevin Mo (Irvine, Calif.) and Adam Watson (Richford, Vt.), as well as No. 1 ranked James Kaull (Washington D.C.) and No. 3 ranked Michael Raynis (Chatsworth, Calif.).
The top-four U.S. ranked Cadet Men's Epee division will compete: Alexander Eldeib (Burke, Va.), Maxwell Kleeman (Los Angeles), Andrei Tapai (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Luke Politi (Lexington, Mass.).
Also in the Junior Women's Epee class, the top-four U.S. ranked athletes will compete: Courtney Hurley (No. 1 - San Antonio, Texas), Susannah Scanlan (No. 2 - Princeton, N.J.), Francesca Bassa (No. 3 - Houston) and Dina Bazarbayeva (No. 4 - Houston).
Bryan Cheyney (White Bluff, Tenn.), a member of the 2009 Junior World Championship team, will compete as well as top-six ranked fencers Evan Prochniak (Hudson, N.H.), Sean Buckley (Secaucus, N.J.) and Dan Berliner (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) for the Junior Men's Sabre title.
In Cadet Women's Sabre, the top-four U.S. ranked athletes will compete for the title: Celina Merza (Wayne, N.J.), Sarah Pak (Roslyn, N.Y.), Skyla Powers (Decatur, Ga.) and Margaret McDonald (Atlanta).
Lian Osier (Battle Ground, Wash.), Samantha Roberts (Upper Saddle River, N.J.), Nicole Glon (College Station, Pa.) and Faizah Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.), who are all ranked in the top 8 in Junior Women's Sabre, will square off for the NAC title.
The NAC tournaments are a series of sanctioned U.S. Fencing Association events providing fencers across the world the opportunity to compete in men's and women's Epee, Foil and Sabre to earn ranking points.
The next NAC event is scheduled for Pittsburgh hosting elite athletes, veterans and wheelchair fencers, Dec. 4-6.
The 2010 North American Cup events will start with elite and junior athletes at the Jan. 15-18 North American Cup in San Jose, Calif. The fencing community will converge into Dallas for the March 26-29 NAC for division 2, division 3, veterans and wheelchair divisions. The final NAC is slated for April 23-26 in Virginia Beach, Va., for elite athletes and multiple youth divisions (born in 1995-2002).
NAC tournaments are open to foreign fencers who have an FIE license valid for the current season and/or can show proof of membership in another fencing federation, and who meet age/classification requirements for specific NAC competitions. U.S. Fencers must be current members of the U.S. Fencing Association, but do not need their membership number to register for National Events.
For more information and entry forms on North American Cup events click here.