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Alexander Massialas Wins Silver Medal at St. Petersburg Foil Grand Prix, Gerek Meinhardt Places Seventh

03/06/2013, 6:00pm CST
By Nicole Jomantas

St. Petersburg Foil Grand Prix Podium: Silver medalist Alexander Massialas (USA), gold medalist James Davis (GBR) and bronze medalists Valerio Aspromonte (ITA) and Artur Akhimtkhuzin (RUS). Photo credit: Greg Massialas.

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Eighteen-year-old Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) has won more individual foil World Cup and Grand Prix medals than any U.S. foil fencer during the past decade.

A freshman at Stanford with four individual medals to his credit – and two more team podium finishes during the last six weeks alone – the youngest male member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team has already shown that he will have a long career in this sport.

On Tuesday, Massialas made another leap when he advanced to his first gold medal final at a World Cup or Grand Prix event at the St. Petersburg Grand Prix in Russia.

Seeded seventh in the tournament, Massialas edged Young Ho Kim (KOR), 15-13, in the table of 64 and defeated David Willette (Lafayette, Calif.) – his teammate at the Massialas Foundation at Halberstadt – by a score of 15-14 in the table of 32.

Willette, a 2011 Junior World Team Champion and redshirt junior at Penn State, finished 27th after the loss to Massialas and a 15-12 win over U.S. teammate Jeremy Goldstein (Westport, Conn.) in the table of 64.

In the table of 16, Massialas defeated two-time Senior World Team Champion Marcel Marcilloux (FRA), 15-12. Massialas’s win moved him into the quarter-finals against 2010 Senior World medalist Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.) – Massialas’s teammate on both the M Team and the 2012 Olympic Team.

Meinhardt, who earned a #16 world ranking after his bronze medal win in La Coruna last week, defeated British fencer Marcus Mepstead (GBR), 15-1, in the table of 64 and 2012 Junior World silver medalist Daniele Garozzo (ITA), 15-11, in the table of 32.

The Notre Dame redshirt senior upset two-time Senior World Champion and 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Champion Andrea Baldini (ITA), 15-14, in the table of 16. The win is Baldini’s second loss to an American during the past week as Massialas also defeated the Italian by a 15-14 margin during the quarter-finals of the La Coruna event.

Massialas won the quarter-final bout over Meinhardt, 15-6, to advance to the semifinals against Valerio Aspromonte (ITA) – a 2011 Senior World individual silver medalist who helped Italy win gold at the London Games.

Massialas and Aspromonte exchanged touches for the first half of the opening period, but Massialas went on a four-touch run as Aspromonte became increasingly flustered to take the bout from a tie to a 10-6 lead. 

"I think I was just able to keep my composure and let him do whatever he was going to do. go crazy.He's a very emotional fencer so I let his emotions get to him especially once the bout was getting close and intense," Massialas said.  

Up 12-10 late in the first period, Massialas scored three unanswered touches to finish the bout, 15-10.

In the gold medal final, Massialas and James Davis (GBR) felt each other out for most of the first minute before Davis took a three-touch lead. Massialas caught up quickly to tie the score at three. By the final minute, Massialas and Davis had each scored 12 touches.

Massialas scored twice more and seemed to have won the bout at 15-12, but didn’t get the call. Davis earned another touch to take the score to 14-13.

With 13 seconds left, a technical problem was discovered and a wire needed to be replaced. After a several minute break, a refreshed Davis scored the two touches he needed to win gold over Massialas, 15-14.

"It meant a lot to me to finally break through to the gold medal match. Especially after La Coruna I was really hard on myself because that was my fourth chance to get to that gold medal match yet I wasn't able to capitalize on the opportunity," Massialas said. "To finally make it was incredible and now I'm extra focused on getting that last bout." 

Although Massialas fell short of winning his first Grand Prix title, his silver medal finish was the best result for a U.S. men’s foil fencer at a Grand Prix tournament since Cliff Bayer (New York City, N.Y.) won this event 14 years ago.

"Though it's really tough not being able to pull through with a win at 14-14 for the gold, it's still my best career result so, though it took awhile, I'm now really appreciating what I was just able to do," he said. 

During the next month, Massialas will juggle a schedule that includes the NCAA Championships, another Senior World Cup in Venice and the Junior World Championships. 

"I've just been trying to stay consistent and, most importantly, stay healthy. With so much traveling in such a little amount of time, I've just been trying to keep myself healthy so I can fence my best at these competitions," he said. 

In earlier rounds, London Olympic teammates Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Miles Chamley-Watson (Philadelphia, Pa.) clashed in the table of 64 with Imboden winning the bout, 15-12.

Imboden won his next bout over Hyogon Kim (KOR), 15-4, but finished 11th after a table of 16 loss to Richard Kruse (GBR), 15-6.

Click here to view complete results.

Top eight and U.S. results are as follows, including athletes who placed outside the top 64 on Friday:

St. Petersburg Foil Grand Prix
1. James Davis (GBR)
2. Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)
3. Artur Akhmatkhuzin (RUS)
3. Valerio Aspromonte (ITA)
5. Andrea Cassara (ITA)
6. Richard Kruse (GBR)
7. Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.)
8. Marius Braun (GER)

11. Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
27. David Willette (Lafayette, Calif.)
43. Jeremy Goldstein (Westport, Conn.)
60. Miles Chamley-Watson (Philadelphia, Pa.)
73. Nobuo Bravo (San Francisco, Calif.)
85. Raymond Chen (Dallas, Texas)

Tag(s): News  Alexander Massialas  Gerek Meinhardt  Miles Chamley-Watson