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U.S. Men’s Epee Team Wins Silver, Retains World #1 Ranking in Legnano

01/28/2013, 6:30pm CST
By Nicole Jomantas

Team USA poses with the second place trophy from the Legnano Epee World Cup. (L-R): Soren Thompson, Jonathan Yergler, Coach Benoit Bouysset, Jimmy Moody and Jason Pryor. Photo Credit: Augusto Bizzi.

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Although three of the four members of the U.S. Men’s Epee Team that won the World Team Championships in 2012 have retired or are taking time off, the program’s depth had its first opportunity of the season to shine on Sunday when Team USA won a silver medal at the Legnano Epee World Cup in Italy.

As the top-ranked team in the world, two-time Olympian and 2012 World Champion Soren Thompson (New York City, N.Y.) admitted that the team was in a high pressure situation. 

"Being #1 in the world puts a big target on our backs.  The other teams were licking their chops seeing some new faces on our team.  Some of them even admitted after our bouts that they thought they had a good chance to upset us," said Thompson who stepped into the role of anchor in Legnano. 

Thompson was joined in the team competition by Jason Pryor (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Jimmy Moody (Colorado Springs, Colo.) – each of whom fenced the team event once in 2012 – as well as Jonathan Yergler (Princeton, N.J.) who was competing at his first World Cup since 2009.

As the top seeded team in the tournament, Team USA earned a bye into the table of 16 where the Americans defeated Israel, 45-37.

After a 45-31 victory over Russia, Team USA won its semifinal bout against Hungary, 40-39.

In the gold medal final, the Americans were matched up against a more experienced Swiss team and lost the bout, 45-25.

Team USA’s silver medal finish – a repeat of last year’s result – will keep the Americans in their current ranking as the #1 men’s epee team in the world.

"This was a great test for our team.  I'm extremely proud of how our everybody responded to the pressure.  It was a very unusual situation because we are nominal favorites as the top ranked team in the world, but we were also underdogs in some bouts because we've had personnel turnover since last season," Thompson said. "In the end, we were successful because we kept our process as rigorous as ever before.  The athletes and Benoit [Bouysset], the National Coach, created a plan for each bout of each match and everybody held to plan, sometimes under extreme duress.  The U.S. Men's Epee Team has shown for years, and continues to show with this result, that with intelligence and discipline great things are possible in team fencing."

Although Thompson has had great sucess as an individual who was ranked among the top 10 in the world last season, he stressed that the success of the men's epee program has been due to the focus of the athletes on joining together as a team. 

"As we move closer to Rio there is a huge opportunity for more up and coming fencers to learn our system and buy into our processes.  This is really the secret to qualification for the Games," he said. "When we compete together we are more than a collection of individuals and our results prove that.  Going forward the team will be different, but our tradition of excellence can continue."

Click here to view complete results.

Top eight results are as follows:

Legnano Team Epee World Cup
1. Switzerland
2. USA
3. Hungary
4. Venezuela
5. Ukraine
6. Czech Republic
7. Germany
8. Russia

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