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Junior Worlds Women’s Epee Team Named at Junior Olympics

02/17/2013, 9:15am CST
By Nicole Jomantas

Junior women's epee podium (Bottom L-R): Catherine Lee (seventh), Audrey Yun (fifth), Anna Van Brummen (sixth) and Nina Van Loon (eighth). Back Row (L-R): Aleina Edwards (silver), Amanda Sirico (gold), Jennnifer Horowitz (bronze) and Madeline Antekeier (b

(Baltimore, Md.) – The junior (U20) women’s epee event at the Junior Olympic Fencing Championships began on Saturday with a problem many coaches would dream of – three fencers with high level international credentials all vying for one individual position on the team that will represent the United States at the Junior World Championships in April.

With the top two positions on the team already secured by 2012 Junior World Team bronze medalists Kat Holmes (Washington, D.C.) and Anna Van Brummen Houston, Texas), Audrey Abend (New York City, N.Y.) entered the Junior Olympics third in the national team standings with the knowledge that the top three athletes in the rankings at the end of the day would be named to the team.

Abend, who won bronze with Holmes and Van Brummen last year, found herself in a holding pattern after she lost in the table of 64 to Kaitlyn Wallace (Mendham, N.J.), 15-13.

Her 38th place result did nothing to improve her ranking and she would be forced to watch as her rivals for the position attempted to pass her in the standings.

After the loss, fourth-ranked Nina Van Loon (Boulder, Colo.) needed a top-16 finish to move past Abend in the rankings and fifth-ranked Isabel Ford (Salem Ore.) needed at least a bronze medal to be eligible for the team.

The race came down to a head-to-head in the table of 32 when Van Loon, a Harvard freshman who won bronze at the Laupheim Junior World Cup in December, met Ford, a Princeton freshman who earned top-eight finishes at the last two Junior World Cups.  

Van Loon won the bout, 15-9, to secure her slot on Team USA. She went on to defeat Kasia Nixon (Los Angeles, Calif.), 15-14, in the table of 16 and placed eighth overall after a 15-9 loss to Aleina Edwards (Los Angeles, Calif.)

“Making the team is incredible. I’m so excited because I’ve never had a season like this before,” said Van Loon who is currently ranked 19th in the world after earning both the bronze in Laupheim and a top-16 finish at the Dijon Junior World Cup. “I think I have a lot of confidence on the international stage because that’s where I’ve done my best. I didn’t have the best domestic season and then I ended up doing really well in the international tournaments.”

Van Loon will join a team that has won medals at three of the last four Junior World Championships. Holmes holds both silver and bronze medals in the team event while Van Brummen won bronze in the team competition with Holmes and Abend last year.

“I think we’re the perfect trio. Anna’s got the French grip and the game that no one can figure out. Katharine has super iron defense and I think I attack pretty well so we have a very wide range of talents and should be able to take down anybody,” Van Loon said.

A fourth athlete will be named to compete in only the team event later this week.

Although she would fall just short of qualifying for the Junior World Team, 17-year-old Amanda Sirico (Bowie, Md.) has spent the last four months collecting epee medals around the world.

Sirico won gold and silver medals in two of the three Cadet European Cups in which she competed this season and earned her first Junior World Cup medal – a silver – in Gothenburg, Sweden last week.

Sirico entered the weekend with a position on the Cadet World Team secure and the goal of winning her first U20 Junior Olympic title just 30 minutes from home.

Seeded first after the pools, Sirico earned a bye into the table of 128 where she defeated Alissa Hofmann (Cambridge, Mass.), 15-3.

Sirico won both of her next two bouts by 15-10 scores over Emma Peterson (Santa Monica, Calif.) and Safaa Ibrahim (Bronx, N.Y.)

In the table of 16, Sirico won her bout, 15-7, over Kim Young (Gilbert, Ariz.) – a two-weapon fencer who won silver in the saber team competition at the Junior Pan American Championships in Puerto Rico.

Sirico fenced Audrey Yun (Los Angeles, Calif.) in the quarter-finals and won her bout over the January NAC gold medalist, 15-11.

The bout would turn out to be the first of three wins against fencers from the Los Angeles International Fencing Center that Sirico would need to win gold.

In the semifinals, Sirico led her bout against Jennifer Horowitz (Los Angeles, Calif.), 11-9, after the first period and outscored Horowitz, 4-1, in the second period to take the victory, 15-10, and let loose her signature deep howl.

“I did an SYC at Mission Fencing Club a few years ago and in the final I kind of screeched a little bit and my mom told me that wasn’t going to happen anymore and she said ‘pick a different yell,’ so I went guttural instead. And I really appreciate that she told me that now!” Sirico laughed.

Sirico took an early lead against Aleina Edwards (Los Angeles, Calif.) in the gold medal final where she was up, 7-1, at the first break.  

With Sirico ahead, 11-6, after the second period, Edwards cut Sirico’s lead to four touches at 13-9 in the third and the crowd of spectators grew both larger and louder.  

Although Sirico was within a score of winning gold after a double touch set the score at 14-10, Edwards hit four straight single touches to tie the bout at 14.

“I really wanted to try and center myself and just kept telling myself that I just needed one more touch,” Sirico said.

As she had before, Edwards went on the attack and pushed Sirico to the back of the strip, but it was Sirico who scored the final single touch to win the bout, 15-14.

Sirico said she enjoyed being able to fence in her hometown in front of a large and boisterous crowd during the finals.

“I had a lot of my teammates and the kids from the club come out today, so it was great to have that kind of support,” Sirico said.  “It’s kind of odd just because it’s so close, but it’s really cool to be able to represent my hometown well.”

Although she won the cadet competition at the 2012 Junior Olympics, this year will mark the first time Sirico has qualified for the Cadet World Championships.

“I’m excited and I hope to be able to do well. If I could hear them play the national anthem for me, it would be sweet,” Sirico said. “At the World Cups, I’ve gotten familiar with some of the same fencers I’ll be fencing at Worlds and experience-wise it’s good to know that I’m able to fence at that level and know you took an eight hour plane ride to get there. 

With the top four junior saber fencers in the rankings competing at the Budapest Saber Junior World Cup on Sunday, the Junior World Team won’t be finalized until the conclusion of that event.

But three athletes did use the junior men’s saber competition at the Junior Olympics to help solidify their positions on the Cadet World Team.

Jonah Shainberg (Rye, N.Y.) entered the Junior Olympics as the top-ranked cadet men’s saber fencer in the nation after winning a bronze medal in the Division I event at the December North American Cup and a silver medal at the Godollo Cadet European Cup in October. Although Shainberg was eliminated in the table of 64 of the junior competition on Saturday, he still retains his #1 cadet national ranking.

A medalist at both the Konin and Godollo Cadet European Cups, Edward Chin (Livingston, N.J.) placed seventh on Saturday to hold onto his #2 position in the cadet standings.

With several athletes vying for the third slot, it was Calvin Liang (Phoenix, Ariz.) who earned a silver medal in Baltimore to stay third in the rankings for the Cadet World Team which will be announced after the conclusion of the cadet men’s event on Monday.

Liang didn’t give up more than nine touches to any of his first four opponents and defeated Isaac Buchwald (San Carlos, Calif.), 15-11, in the quarter-finals. After a 15-12 victory over Benjamin Natanzon (Manalapan, N.J.), Liang advanced to the gold medal final against Peter Pak (Roslyn, N.Y.)

Pak, a 2011 Cadet World Team member, earned a bye into the table of 128 where he defeated Benjamin Marcus (Overland Park, Kans.), 15-10.

In the table of 64, Pak won his bout against Michael Szczesniak (Linden, N.J.), 15-8, and went on to defeat Christofer Ahn (Houston, Texas), 15-10, in the table of 32.

Pak earned a 15-4 victory over 2013 Junior Pan American Championship Team member Gabriel Armijo (San Diego, Calif.) to advance to the quarter-finals where he defeated Andrew Herczak (Randolph, N.J.), 15-12.

Pak qualified for his first ever individual Junior Olympic gold medal bout after a 15-10 win against Adam Lewicki (Oakland, N.J.)

Although Pak trailed Liang, 8-6, after the first period of the gold medal bout, Liang kept the bout close and tied the score at 14 in the second period.

During the final exchange, Pak ended the bout with a single light score to with gold, 15-14.

“You’re going to have bouts that are 14-14 and you just have to treat it like another normal touch,” Pak said. “I mostly kept him away from what he likes to do, but I made a lot of mistakes which led to the score being closer than I would have liked because I was tired and it was tough to grind it out.”

In the cadet men’s foil competition, Thomas Dudey (Bellaire, Texas) came into the event as the #2-ranked cadet fencer in the nation with a big enough lead on his opponents in the standings to know that he couldn’t drop below third.

With the pressure of qualification off, Dudey went about picking off his competitors on his way to earning his second gold medal in a week after taking the Pisa Cadet European Cup title in Italy last Saturday.

After a bye into the table of 128, Dudey won his opening bout against Matthew Pintea (New York City, N.Y.), 15-9, and defeated Earnest Chen (Weston, Conn.) , 15-12, to advance to the table of 32 where he edged Michael Antipas (Stonybrook, N.Y.), 15-14.

In the table of 16, Dudey ended the run at Cadet World Team qualification for Sam Moelis (Hewlett, N.Y.)

Moelis, who moved up to #6 in the rankings after a top-five finish in Pisa, needed a podium finish in the cadet competition to have a chance at a position on the team, but Dudey’s 15-10 win left Moelis with a ninth-place result.

Dudey defeated George Haglund (Califon, N.J.), 15-12, and Brian Howard (Petaluma, Calif.), 15-6, in the next two rounds to advance to the gold medal final where he defeated Aiden Ahn (Los Angeles, Calif.), 15-12.

With Dudey and 2012 Cadet World Team member Raymond Chen (Dallas, Texas) secure in the top two positions on the team, two athletes remain eligible for the final position.

On Monday, third-ranked Axel Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.), a 2012 Cadet World Team member, will try to hold off fourth-ranked James Sands (New York City, N.Y.) when the two compete in the junior event.

In the team competitions, Alliance Fencing Academy won gold in men’s epee and Northwestern University took the women’s foil title.

Fencing with 2013 Cadet World Team members Ariel Simmons (Houston, Texas) and Lewis Weiss (Houston, Texas), Alliance’s squad also included Anton Piskovatskov (Houston, Texas) and John Cramerus (Sugar Land, Texas).

Alliance defeated Hooked on Fencing, 44-29, in the table of 32 and Northwest Fencing Center 2, 45-40, in the table of 16.

In the quarter-finals, Alliance won the match over Schoolhouse Fencing, 45-21.

Alliance fenced the New York Athletic Club in the semifinals where 2013 Cadet World Team member Gabriel Canaux anchored NYAC and made a late comeback with nine touches in the final bout, but Piskovatskov scored eight of his own to win the match, 43-42.

Fencing for gold, Alliance won the final bout over Swords Fencing Studio, 45-33. Fencing with 2011 Cadet World Team member Raymond Schorr (Los Angeles, Calif.), Benjamin Riviere (San Diego, Calif.), Luis-Antonio Dealba-Young (Burbank, Calif.) and Preston Maestri-Petniunas (Burbank, Calif.), Swords Fencing Studio ended the day with a silver medal.

In the bronze medal match, the NYAC led for most of the match against the Northern Colorado Fencers team of 2012 Cadet World Team member Spencer Amann (Westminster, Colo.), Nick Campbell-Kruger (Boulder, Colo.), Brendon Yoder (Parker, Colo.)

Amann stepped into the anchor role, however, and outscored Canaux, 14-8, to secure the win, 45-41, for the Northern Colorado Fencers.

In the women’s team foil event, Northwestern University dominated its opponents. Mikela Goldstein (Hewlett, N.Y.), Charlotte Sands (New York City, N.Y.) and Jennifer Yamin (Allendale, N.J.) defeated the Fencing Sports Academy, 45-26, in the quarter-finals and won their semifinal bout over Grafa Girls, 45-28.

In the gold medal final, Northwestern won eight of nine bouts to defeat the Fencing Academy of Westchester 1, 45-30.

FAW 1 won the silver medal with the team of Liana Semel (Carmel, N.Y.), Katherine Thayer (Tarrytown, N.Y.), Sylvie Binder (Armonk, N.Y.) and Gabriella Zusin (New York City, N.Y.)

In the bronze medal match, the Gutkovskiy Fencing Academy 1 team of Liana Yamin (Allendale, N.J.), Anastasiya Muravyeva (Fair Lawn, N.J.), Emmeline Yoo (Wyckoff, N.J.) and Sarit Kapon (Fair Lawn, N.J.) defeated the Grafa Girls, 45-33, to place third.

Competition continues on Sunday with the schedule as follows:

Sunday, February 17
8:30 a.m.
Cadet Men’s Individual Epee
Junior Women’s Individual Saber


10:30 a.m.
Junior Men’s Team Foil


1:30 p.m.
Cadet Women’s Individual Foil


3:30 p.m.
Junior Women’s Team Epee


Click here to view complete results.

Top eight and U.S. results are as follows:

Junior Women’s Individual Epee
1. Amanda Sirico (Bowie, Md.)
2. Aleina Edwards (Los Angeles, Calif.)
3. Jennifer Horowitz (Los Angeles, Calif.)
3. Madeline Antekeier (Houston, Texas)
5. Audrey Yun (Los Angeles, Calif.)
6. Anna Van Brummen (Houston, Texas)
7. Catherine Lee (Elizabethtown, Ky.)
8. Nina Van Loon (Boulder, Colo.)

Junior Men’s Individual Saber
1. Peter Pak (Roslyn, N.Y.)
2. Calvin Liang (Phoenix, Ariz.)
3. Benjamin Natanzon (Manalapan, N.J.)
3. Adam Lewicki (Oakland, N.J.)
5. Isaac Buchwald (San Carlos, Calif.)
6. Ian Jones (Ladera Ranch, Calif.)
7. Edward Chin (Livingston, N.J)
8. Andrew Herczak (Randolph, N.J.)

Cadet Men’s Individual Foil
1. Thomas Dudey (Bellaire, Texas)
2. Aaron Ahn (Los Angeles, Calif.)
3. Brian Howard (Petaluma, Calif.)
3. Axel Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.)
5. George Haglund (Califon, N.J.)
6. Paul Won (Belle Mead, N.J.)
7. Jarred Gou (Saratoga, Calif.)
8. Julian Knodt (Palo Alto, Calif.)

Junior Men’s Team Epee
1. Alliance Fencing Academy
2. Swords Fencing Studio
3. Northern Colorado Fencers
5. DC Fencers Club 1
6. Woodlands Fencing Academy
7. Schoolhouse Fencing
8. Gold Blade Fencing Center

Junior Women’s Team Foil
1. Northwestern University
2. FAW 1
3. Gutkovskiy Fencing Academy 1
4. Grafa Girls
6. Boston Fencing Club
7. Fencing Sports Academy
8. FAW 2

The following is the roster of athletes named to the Junior Women's Epee Team, including alternates:

Junior Women’s Epee World Championship Team
1. Katharine Holmes (Washington D.C.)
2. Anna Van Brummen (Houston, Texas)
3. Nina Van Loon (Boulder, Colo.)
ALT 1: Audrey Abend (New York City, N.Y.)
ALT 2: Isabel Ford (Salem, Ore.)
ALT 3: Amanda Sirico (Bowie, Md.)

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